First Thessalonians 5:21
but test everything; hold fast what is good.
The Things of the World
Paul was mentoring Titus for a long time. Even though Christians must live in the world, we are not to be part of the world (John 17:15) and not to allow the world to conform us into its image, so we must test all things in the world to prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Rom 12:2). We have to live in the world, but we cannot allow ourselves to be part of the world. That’s a hard thing to do for sure because the world is constantly pulling us toward the lusts of the flesh. Any time you turn on the TV, browse the internet, or listen to the radio, you are exposed to the evil influences of the world, so it is a daily battle to protect our minds from the corruption that is everywhere in the world (1 John 5:19).
Thinking Pure Thoughts
The battle for our minds doesn’t stop the moment we are saved. In fact, that is when the real battle begins. It takes a concerted effort to think on godly things: whatever is pure, honorable, and commendable before God (Phil 4:8). Our goal is to seek and please God and not ourselves or human approval (Rom 14:18). The idea is that if anyone accuses us of doing evil, our conscience won’t condemn us because they will see that we are really doing good for the kingdom of God (1 Pet 2:12).
Once we are saved, we cannot be relocated to a monastery and live on some remote island. God has not called us to that. However, we are told to come out of the world (Ezra 10:11) and not partake of the sinful activities of the world (Rev 18:4), so we must test what is good in the sight of God against what the world says is good. Long ago Jeremiah tried to warn his people to do this, yet they refused to listen and were sent into captivity as a form of punishment (Jer 51:45). We have to be constantly on guard, test everything that we come into contact with, abstain from what we discern to be evil, and hold onto those things that we know are good (1 Thess 5:21-22).
A Closing Prayer
Great God in heaven, I need Your Spirit to help me test those things that might be in the grey areas so as to avoid them in order that I might not sin. Some things are obviously sinful, but I need Your help in order to put all of the things of the world against what I know is good and pleasing in your sight so that I might do Your will and choose what is good before Your eyes, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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