At camp one of the top requirements we post on our job requirements, is that candidates must have a vibrant walk with God to work in ministry here. It is essential…non-negotiable. The Lord feels the same way…we can’t do ministry without being in a vital and vibrant relationship with him. Jesus himself said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 “
This morning I was reading in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, says, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test EVERYTHING. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
These instructions were not written to the Christian “professionals”…the leaders…they were written to the people of the church. We each need to take responsibility and examine scripture and sift through teachings we hear using the Scripture as the standard. We are to ALL test EVERYTHING and not rely entirely on pastors to tell us what is right and wrong. We must be studying God’s word for ourselves and praying for God to teach us through His Holy Spirit. The Lord uses godly pastors to instruct and teach, but that should never provide us a “pass” to shirk our responsibility and truly privilege to dive into the truths and precepts of God.
Why does it matter? We cannot hold on to the “good and avoid every kind of evil” that the Apostle Paul writes about if we cease to know what God considers good and evil. Just take a look at the state of many churches today. Those churches that at one time were God fearing, Bible believing have compromised in so many areas that would have been considered non-negotiables in earlier times. Churches that have esteemed their own personal worldview above God’s have forfeited their voice to speak for God. Their quest to be sophisticated, relevant and seeker friendly have made them anemic and powerfulness. The God of the Bible couldn’t care less about being sophisticated and He doesn’t really care whether we like His thoughts or opinions on every point of Scripture. But He does care that we trust Him, that we know that He is good and holy and that He is all-loving and all-powerful. He rules…and He dictates what is good and what is evil…not us.
Friends test everything against the Scripture, pray and seek the counsel of Godly leaders. All these steps combined are imperative for thriving in a time of sloppy theology, battle weary saints and compromising leaders. It is definitely not the time for leaving your Bible on the shelf.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness , who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and cleaver in their own sight.” Isaiah 5:20-21
“Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-21