Prove All Things
By Jody Griffin
Avery and Mitchell Counties
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica offering them counsel for living in tumultuous times. (Seems we all know what those are like…) The advice given in this verse could benefit any who would choose to receive its message and believe its truth. These are “ancient words, ever true” (Thank you Lynn DeShazo and Michael W. Smith, C. 2001, Integrity’s Hosanna Music!) and they are words that can help us make our way through the minefields of our current landscape.
Over forty years ago as a young infantry soldier, I was trained in what to do if one finds oneself in such a position (minefield). First, stand in one place, and inspect your immediate surroundings, taking care to look for signs that the soil has been disturbed. Slowly and deliberately bend or stoop down. Then using a knife, bayonet or even a stick begin gently probing the ground in front of you just inches apart and at a depth adequate to identify foreign objects. Finally, when you have cleared a space adequate to take a step, do so. It was a painstakingly slow process but one where Paul’s words come rushing into my memory. Missteps could be catastrophic!
Prove all things… dokemazo meaning to test, examine, or scrutinize to ascertain the genuine nature. As in, do the difficult work of evaluating your own thoughts, actions, RE-actions! And when you’ve completed the evaluation process, “hold fast that which is good”. The word there is kathecho, and it means ‘to have and to hold’. Sound familiar? These are words used in many traditional wedding ceremonies, ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward’.
The implication here is that during times of trial it is valuable to deliberately evaluate our steps! And then upon completing said evaluation we should take hold and keep the evidence of our test by being committed to the process and then move forward accordingly.
The struggle we find ourselves in as a society contemporarily is filled with potential peril, a.k.a. a minefield. We would be wise to allow this Scripture to instruct our journey forward. I believe we may do well to break this down into action steps:
- Stop right where we are and take a careful inventory of the place we find ourselves.
- Use this inventory to determine the safest and most prudent way forward.
- Gently probe the pathway to ensure that the route is safe.
- Use this information as the foundation to undergird each step ahead of us.
- Only allow that which is good to define our way.
The unspoken truth here is that anyone seeking to make their way along this life journey filled with conflict and uncertainty can receive the promise of God’s Word. Proving and holding fast to Truth are the steps to safety and security, in this world AND in the Kingdom of God! The way may be excruciatingly slow, but the time and energy expended will be worth it as we strive to avoid catastrophic consequences of our missteps throughout life.
Safe travel friends!
Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more good news from Jody HERE.