21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Information overload. Is it just me, or do you feel it, too? At this point in history, we have information constantly coming at us from any and every direction. Some of what we see, hear, and read is unimportant and meaningless. Other information, however, is either confirmed or contradicted by scripture. That’s a big deal.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes a letter of encouragement to the church he founded in Thessalonica. In verses 12 through 22 of chapter five, he finishes his letter with what a friend pointed out to me is like a to-do list for believers. Today’s verse is part of that list. If it was important for believers in the church in Thessalonica to “test all things” and “hold on to what is good,” then it’s important for us to do the same.
This verse could really be simplified into four words: test all, hold good. That’s easy to say, but what exactly does it mean? Taking meanings from the original Greek words, “test” means to put to the test, prove, or examine; “all” means every kind of thing; “hold” means to hold fast, bind, or arrest; and “good” means worthy, honorable, and noble. With that in mind, we should examine everything and hold tightly on to things that are worthy and honorable. But how do we do that?
God’s Word must be our standard. Any input we receive—whether from a friend or a stranger, a nobody or an expert—must be examined against, or compared to, the standard of scripture. Scripture is true (Psalm 119:142) and unchanging (Psalm 119:89), and if the earthly input we receive is confirmed by scripture, then it is good! It’s worthy of our holding fast to it.
By the way, “hold fast” doesn’t mean to simply hold on to something. “Hold fast” originated as a nautical term. It means to cling tightly to something stable in order to safely endure a storm on the sea. That’s how we should cling to God’s Word and the truths He has given us. If we find ourselves holding fast to words and ideas that look or sound appealing but don’t pass the scriptural test, we will find ourselves at risk.
God is good, and His Word is true. Let’s carefully examine all our earthly input to make sure those messages to which we cling meet the standard of God’s Word. If they do, then let’s hold on to those truths with all we have!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do I cling tightly to earthly messages rather than clinging tightly to God’s Word?
- Do I prioritize reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word so I can know God’s standard and be prepared to test the input that bombards me?
Things to prepare: 90 second timer on your phone
Tell your family, “Pretend we have to leave our house and never come back, and you can only take 3 things with you. Remember, these things should also include items that will help you for the rest of your life. You only get 60 seconds to get those 3 things and bring them back. Ready, go!” (Items may vary but will likely include pets, toys, tablets, phones, etc.) After the timer goes off and everyone has returned, discuss the items each family member brought back. Share that one of the most important things to help us in our lives is God’s Word. The truths He has given us in His Word can help guide us in every situation we face, good or bad. God is good, and His Word is true. Read Psalm 119:105 together as a family.
Pray for the Community Food Drive happening on the Brentwood Campus tomorrow, Sunday, September 13. Pray that God will direct and multiply the food and hygiene items we bring to meet both physical and spiritual needs in families.