“As I’ve mentioned before,” Stan commented one morning, “I think the apostle Paul was especially gifted by God to be able to cover volumes of material in just a few words. Earlier this morning I saw another one of those examples he wrote that’s supposed to be at the core of my faith walk.”
“What were you looking at?” I asked.
“A simple, but profound, single sentence near the end of his first letter to the church in Thessalonica,” Stan replied. “It points out three steps that seem essential to me for an ever-deepening faith walk and relationship with God.”
“Three steps,” I commented. “Were they those three steps of being a disciple you often mention? The ones about denying self, taking up what God has for you to take up, and following?”
“Those certainly are essential steps in my faith walk,” Stan replied, “but, no, Paul wrote about three different steps that will help me in knowing what and what not to do while being a disciple.”
“What to do and what not do while being a disciple,” I commented. “Sounds like that could be important!”
“Not only could be important,” Stan replied with a smile, “but I think is essential for me while God keeps me on this side of eternity.”
“Okay,” I said, “what were you looking at?”
“First,” Stan replied, “I am to examine everything carefully, then I am to hold fast to what is good, and abstain from every form of evil.”
“Wow,” I commented. “That sounds like a really big subject.”
“As I said,” Stan replied, “Paul wrote volumes in just a few words. Yes, it’s a big subject, one that covers all of the time we have on this side of eternity, but just because it’s big it doesn’t mean that we can’t break it down into small bites.”
“Yeah,” Stan replied. “First, examine everything that is in my life or wants to be a part of my life. Then ask the question of each one of those things, one at a time, of whether it is good or not. If it’s good, keep it; if it’s not, don’t.”
“That makes it sound pretty simple,” I said.
“Maybe,” Stan replied, “but always remember that just because something sounds simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. And remember that if something was easy, everyone would do it. But they don’t because it’s not easy to examine everything and it’s not easy to decide what to keep and what to discard. We are to examine everything, but too often it seems that we don’t examine anything.”
Bible verses to consider:
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . goodness . . . . Galatians 5:22.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to examine everything carefully and to keep, cling to, and hold fast to what is good, and to get rid of everything that is not good. I confess that too often I do not examine everything (or anything) carefully, I do not cling to what is good, and I do not abstain from every form of evil. Please forgive the foolishness of living this life you have given me in that way. Please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, examine everything — absolutely everything — carefully, and keep what is good and get rid of that which is not good. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: God gave the very essence of goodness in Jesus so that all could believe and know they will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time. Have you accepted that goodness? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with examining everything carefully, keeping what’s good, and getting rid of what’s not? If you sense the need for change in how you examine everything and what you do with what you examine, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?