Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday, 22 February 2013 ~ Roxie

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 15, 16; Psalm 39; Mark 11
Today's scripture focus is 1 John 4:1

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

I definitely struggle with this. If something sounds logical or even just beautiful, tugging at my emotions, I am apt to accept it without question. I am far too trusting and even when I have a squirmy, uncomfortable sense about something, I tend to to lean towards the other’s comfort rather than my discomfort...why rock the boat?? And why make the other person feel belittled or put on the spot?

And here, John is telling us to rock the boat. Do not be lulled by a pretty face, a soft voice or an argument well spoken. Do not let your mind be clouded by a large crowd, a successful looking ministry, a professional worship band, a fancy church building. Test the spirits. Test them. And how, exactly, are we supposed to do that? 

The book of Acts talks about the visit of Paul and Silas to the Bereans, saying:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

Every day. Every day!!! They examined the Scriptures...they tested the words of Paul. This was not just some random guy named Paul; this was the Paul, the apostle, Paul; a man stuck blind by the light of heaven (Acts 9) and whose ears heard aloud the voice of our Lord. Even so, they weighed his words against the ultimate authority, the Scriptures of old, God breathed and true.

So why do I, a woman living in a time where I have multiple translations of Scripture sitting on my shelf, not examine the scriptures every day? Why do I not make certain that what I am listening to and thinking about deeply intertwine with the Word of God? Pure laziness, maybe? An illusion of safety and protection? Whatever it may be, it is a choice that we must make to cover ourselves with protection that comes from closeness with God and a knowledge of His Word.

False prophets are not just a phenomenon of the past. We encounter them frequently. We need to continually work to equip ourselves through digging deeply into the scriptures, immersing ourselves in the ultimate Truth so that  we are able to recognize a false prophet from a prophet striving to turn our hearts back to our that we can stand strong in our knowledge of the Truth. 

Monday's scripture focus: 1 John 4:2-6
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Leviticus 17, 18


LaughingLady said...

As a whole, I find we Western-World Christians lack discernment. We know a whole lot more about famous athletes and actors ~ even the details of their FAKE TV/movie lives ~ than we do of the Scriptures. It's really no wonder we don't recognize false teaching when we hear it.

I think this lack of knowledge exists in deadly combination with laziness. It's gonna be WORK to figure out if something matches up with Scripture, because we're actually going to have to STUDY ~ and the references are not necessarily given, so we may need to do some studying just to figure out WHERE to look in the Bible to "test the spirits." Not many of us are willing to put in that kind of time, and all too often, I hear the argument (and probably use it myself) that "oh well, it doesn't change what I believe, so it doesn't matter." And the problem with THAT, of course, is that we haven't necessarily grounded what we DO already believe about certain things in Scripture either.

This blog and the study required to participate ~ and also the study it has inspired even while not participating ~ has been so good for me in this area. The pursuit of discernment is a lifelong process, but I'm definitely better at distinguishing lies from truth, and recognizing underlying messages and belief systems than I used to be.

Miriam said...

I know I have a tendency to accept things that sound logical and reasonable without question. My dad once told me "Liars expect to be lied to and cheaters expect to be cheated." I rarely expect to be lied to or cheated. I deal on a good faith basis with people because my default position is that they are telling me the truth. Thanks for this reminder to examine the Scripture and use discernment.

Pamela said...

I'm not much of a boat rocker myself and I know I am too trusting when it comes to some things.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Mark me down as another one who has a tendency to be easily swayed by beautiful words or a well worded argument. The pursuit of discernment is indeed a lifelong journey and I am so glad I finally decided to get started on it!