What do you believe? discussed in a previous Sabbath Herald that God has given us the power to think, and that our thoughts shape our life (Proverbs 4:23). This emphasizes our need to guard our thoughts, but also shows how important our beliefs are. We have the choice to think on those positive, true, and noble things (Philippians 4:8). We are also responsible for what information we will hold as true. This does not mean that because we choose to believe something it becomes true. Are we confident that the ideas that we hold as true are free of deception?
In this vein, let us consider an instruction from the book of Proverbs. "The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps." (Proverbs 14:15). The fact is it is foolish to believe everything we hear. We are presented with vast amounts of information daily, that contains both truth and falsehood. We are counted as fools if we fail to properly distinguish what is true.
In contrast, as we grow in wisdom, we will consider our steps. Literally, in the Hebrew this means we will seek to "bring understanding to" the actions we take. In English, we might say, we look before we leap. Every belief must be thoroughly weighed, considered, and discerned before we accept it as truth. As God guides us into all truth (John 16:13), we will then use that truth to determine how we should think, what words we should use, and what action to take in life.
This is a challenge for us. Not only are we faced with a world of misinformation and prejudice, we must struggle against our carnal nature and our own inherent biases. Our natural tendency is to reject wisdom and understanding, and instead seek to establish our own thoughts and desires (Proverbs 18:2). We are masters of self-deception and will fight to fulfill the desires of our flesh (Romans 1:24-28; 13:14 1 John 2:15-17).
We have been given some tremendous blessings. God has poured out His Spirit and revealed to us His truth. We have a light that shows us the proper steps to take (Psalm 119:105) and the help of God to overcome this flesh (1 Corinthians 10:13). The truth about all vital matters of life are held in the Word of God (John 6:68; John 8:12). This means we should constantly be proving all things, comparing what we see and hear to scripture, and only holding onto those things that are compatible with scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
In this life, there will be some things that we may never know if they are true, false, or a mixture of both. We must be careful not to accept as truth anything that we cannot prove as such beyond a shadow of a doubt. We have been given access to what is true, God's Word. This understanding should drive us to keep our focus on scripture for direction in this life.
May this Sabbath be edifying for us all!