At the end of I Thessalonians, Paul is exhorting his brethren to rejoice, pray and give thanks. Further down the list he tells the Thessalonians to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Now, he’s not saying we should prove everything in the world in a scientific manner. He’s not even saying we should do proofs for geometry class. Remember those? Ugh. No, he’s saying we need to examine everything that comes into our life to see whether it is good (has valuable, Life-sustaining substance) or whether it is worthless (good for nothing).
How can we determine what is good? By comparing it to the Bible, of course. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem that easy, though, does it? One thing that really helps with those in-the-moment decisions is Bible memory. When you have to decide whether a decision is good or bad, having a Biblical foundation of memorized verses can help you make those split-second decisions. Another good way to determine what is good is to seek wise counsel from people who have been in similar situations, because they probably have the Biblical foundation for their decisions already figured out. They can help you find guiding principles for your decisions in Scripture.
What types of decisions might you face? Paul doesn’t limit what this proving applies to, so I think it’s fair to say that this process applies to every area of life: relational, spiritual, personal, financial, etc. Let’s look at some of those areas to see what the proving process looks like.
One guiding principle for the personal area of entertainment can be found in Psalm 101:3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Using this principle, you can prove that book you’re reading, that music you’re listening to, that youtube video you’re watching: is it promoting wickedness in your heart?
Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Most of our days are filled with people we have to be around at work, school, etc. However, who do you give your attention to during those times, and — perhaps, even more importantly — during your spare time? Who do you allow to influence you?
Watch out for false teachers who claim to be preaching the gospel of Christ but water it down with man’s teaching. II Peter 2:17 and 18 say, “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.” Does what they are saying really line up with all of Scripture or just that one verse they’re taking out of context? Do you really want to get your spiritual information from someone for whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever?
These are just a few areas where the Bible can show you how to prove what is good and what is worthless in your life. Examine yourself and ask God to reveal areas you need to prove in your life. Dig into the Bible to find guiding principles and verses that you can internalize through Scripture memory. Weed out the worthless stuff and replace it with the good stuff. God only wants us to go through this proving process because He loves us and He wants to have the best that life has to offer.