God’s Spiritual Filter

by APC on April 25, 2019

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:21–22, KJV).

The Word as Our Filter

We spend a lot of time investing in our physical health; however, we need to do the same with our spiritual health. As the Spirit gives us life in this world, it’s vitally important to keep our spiritual health in check. God has given us many tools to help us navigate the plans, decisions, and thoughts we make every day to stay spiritually healthy. Of these tools, His Word (Scripture) specifically is a “working filter” we can use to live our our lives.

Three Steps to Filtering Our Spiritual Life

We’re given 3 easy steps to filter our spiritual life: test everything, keep what’s good, and throw away what’s not.

Test Everything

It doesn’t take a lot of wrong to destroy everything that’s right. This is why it’s important to test everything and filter out the small things that can upset our full spiritual health. Anything that isn’t good can damage our spirit and have eternal impacts. Jesus gave an object lesson to His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He explained that small things (e.g., rites, rituals, etc.) taught by the Pharisees would ruin the significance and impact of the whole law (Galatians 5:9).

When we make decisions and don’t consider the spiritual outcome (testing everything), this is evidence of spiritual immaturity. Because of our poor decisions, we find ourselves in trials and hard times, and we go to God to fix it. When we desire something without knowledge, we miss God’s will in our life (Proverbs 19:2). We must realize many natural things have spiritual consequences; therefore, we must test everything and prove all things.

Jephthah’s Lost Ground

You can lose spiritual ground by failing to test everything. Consider the story of Jephthah in Judges 11. His story was one of redemption; he was favored by God and thrived as a leader. However, despite the positive aspects of his life, he’s remembered for his one, foolish decision. He vowed to sacrifice to God the first thing that met him at the gate of his home if he returned victorious in battle. Because of his hasty vow, he lost his only daughter; he lost spiritual ground. When we make decisions about our home or livelihood, we need to test everything. Check it against the Word of God and consider the impacts.

Saul’s Missed Victory

We can also miss spiritual victories by failing to test everything. In another Scriptural example, King Saul, in an effort to avenge his enemies, told everyone to fast from food and liquid. Failure to do so would result in a curse (I Samuel 14:24). But, Jonathan, his son, didn’t hear him, and ate honey to regain strength because he felt faint after extended travel and numerous battles (I Samuel 14:29–30). When later discovering Saul’s vow, he noted the poor nature of his words. If the men were allowed to eat and revive themselves,  Israel would have experienced a greater victory. When we fail to test our decisions, we’ll miss God’s best for us. If we’re in a the middle of a conflict, we need to guard against impulsive statements.

Keep What’s Good

How do we know what’s good to keep and what’s bad to discard? Up front, the Spirit will lead us to understand what’s good (I Thessalonians 5:21). But, we need to go to the source. What does God consider good? He called His creation, praise, and unity good, among other things. If we want God to call our actions, thoughts, and behaviors “good,” everything needs to be put through the “good” filter and discard what isn’t. A point of measurement and criterion for “good” things are found in God’s Word. We know what we’re doing is good when it honors God (II Timothy 2:21), feels right in the Holy Ghost (Acts 15:28), and lastly, when God’s Word confirms it (Psalms 119:9).

Throw Away What’s Not Good

We discard what isn’t good from our life as well as keep far away (abstain) from it (I Thessalonians 5:22). There are times we just need to take out the spiritual garbage in our life. There’s a time to cast away and refrain from embracing everything. Some things should never agree with us, or be classified s “good,” because we are the temple of the living God (II Corinthians 6:16). God has different standards defined for His people. We’re told to come out from the world (what’s not good) and be separate (stay with the good). When we use the Word of God as our filter, we’ll find things in our life that don’t belong. The Spirit will help us purge out the bad and stay away from it! He will give us the strength and power to overcome!

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on April 24, 2019 with Pastor Nave