A bit of information: I have ministry responsibilities in Tennessee, California, and Illinois over the next weeks. The last of those is with the church where Gayle and I began our marriage and ministry in 1963. Those responsibilities and the travel involved will limit my usual schedule for writing and providing EveryDay life. I will do so as often as opportunity allows and trust your understanding. I ask your prayer for effective, anointed ministry that “touches hearts and changes lives.”
“Test all things. Hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NKJV.
Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.
My thoughts and comments today encourage you, “do the right thing.”
People tend to do the opposite of what may be best for them, making me ask, ”Why?” We seem prone to maximize criticism where given, but minimize compliments when offered. Grudges can be long-held, while gratitude is short-lived. The worst is often assumed, with little thought of better possibilities. Unprofitable things are counterproductive to your own personal well-being. I have seen people refuse to forgive even when forgiveness would have been easier.
Paul was a pragmatist and observed, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable . . not all things edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 NAS. Hold fast only to what is profitable and edifying. People indulge many things that are clearly unprofitable. Worry is not justified, but we worry. Fear is faith-destroying, yet it dominates our thoughts and cripples our will. Unforgiveness is costly, but we struggle to forgive even when forgiveness is healthier. My friend Campbell explained, “If you want to know what fills you, watch what first spills out when you’re bumped.”
Hands and hearts cannot hold fast what is invaluable when preoccupied with what is unnecessary. I find the Apostle Paul’s writings very practical. Here is his wisdom and practicality at its best: “Always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all . . Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 NKJV. What I understand from his words is this advice: “Make good your goal and when good is done or discovered, hold it tightly.”
Life be better when you determine to live that simply – worries are fewer, relationships less complicated, and life simpler all around. Carefully and prayerfully, examine your situations and feelings, considering, “Is this helpful or hurtful? Is my assumption, action, or emotion beneficial or detrimental to myself or others?” Develop Godly discernment. Spiritual maturity is best exercised in the practice of Godly discernment.
Discernment is learning when to let go of what disturbs your peace and how to hold tightly to what develops and expresses Christ-like character. “. . those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize [discern/NKJV] the difference between right and wrong, and then do what is right.” Hebrews 5:14 NLT. Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. Learn from Godly Joseph. Betrayed by his brothers, indentured in a foreign land, and wrongly imprisoned, his heart held fast to forgive his brothers and trust in God’s righteous character. His conclusion? “God turned into good what you meant for evil.” Genesis 50:20 NLT. Be careful what occupies your thoughts and fills your heart.
You can hear Paul’s fatherly heart for the Church at Philippi, “That you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences] . .” Philippians 1:9-10 AMP. Life is ultimately determined by whether you hold fast to the “highest and best,” or settle for less.
My prayer for you today is that you approve and prize what is of excellence and value.