1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 – “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. NKJV
In this letter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul is full of advice. In actuality, his advice is more accurately called exhortations, or words of encouragement meant to push the believer into becoming more mature. The part that I want to look at today is, “test all things”.
My husband shares the story of one of our first dates. He and I went to a pizza place to eat. When we placed our drink order, he asked for a beer. I didn’t say anything while the server was present, but afterwards I remarked on the fact that I was surprised he ordered a beer. To be perfectly honest, I told him that if a Christian friend of mine was to walk past us, I would be embarrassed. He said that he didn’t have to have the beer and that he wasn’t a drinker. Years later, when I mentioned this event, he said it was a test to see how I would respond in an uncomfortable situation. I can also honestly say that I never saw him drink beer again, so I can accept his explanation. He put me to the test, and I passed the test! One of many according to him! But I want you to know that I had some tests of my own!
In life, we will find ourselves in many situations where we will have to put something to the test. During a courtship is a perfect time for testing. Having warm fuzzy feelings for an individual is great, but I can assure you that the feelings don’t last with the wrong person. It’s easy to take people at face value, when you think you are in love, but people can be pretentious. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people got married, only to later say, “I don’t know this person”! That advice was free!
When looking into the word, there are a few things that we are to test, starting with ourselves! This test, according to the Vine’s is for the sake of “approving”. Paul is basically telling us that we get to give our approval of all things in this life. Many want us to believe that we should just take everything that happens, especially in the church, without having an opinion about them, but I don’t agree! And neither does Paul, for he said to test all things! When it comes to people, however, I think we should definitely understand what things we are testing!
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5 – NKJV
Isn’t it interesting that Paul encouraged us to examen ourselves so that we would know if Jesus was really in us! We all feel like we can tell if someone is saved or not. I’m certainly guilty of this opinion. Here, Paul is saying, “examine yourself”. You know if you are the real deal or not, for the proof really is in the pudding. In the faith isn’t talking about how you believe God for things, but if you are a member of His family. Put it to the test! I can tell you one thing, this pandemic is helping us to “examine” ourselves, rather we wanted to or not, to determine if we are in the faith!
Another thing we can test is our spiritual leadership! Yes we can!
But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 1 Timothy 3:10 – NKJV
In the church, almost anybody can be a deacon, it seems, today. Years ago, I was attending a church, when a deacon said from the pulpit that Mary was not a virgin. On that note, I found another place to worship. We can’t just attend church because of our soul ties and connections. If the word isn’t being preached, and the leadership isn’t living a godly life, they have failed the most important test! Put them to the test! Jesus commended one of the churches in Revelation for this very thing:
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; Revelation 2:2 – NKJV
This isn’t being judgmental, it’s testing them. Not with paper and pencil! Not by being judgmental! But watch their life and listen to what they say! If that person can’t hold up to the test of the word, then you should pray about your next steps. I have been blessed through the years to have some really good pastors, but I put them to the test, without them knowing it! So don’t be ridiculous in the testing! Had the congregants tested Jim Jones and people like him, they would have been spared a horrible end!
Then there are spirits! There are so many spirits that we have to test them and see if they are from God or not!
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 – NKJV
Yes! I believe in the gift of prophecy, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t test the spirits of the “prophets” or the spirits behind situations. Try the spirits! If it’s of God, it will stand the test, and if it’s not of God, then it won’t!
God gives us permission to put Him to the test in the area of tithing:
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10 – NKJV
He is so confident in the blessing of the tithe that He said you could put Him to test with it! Go ahead and start tithing and see if He won’t bless you!
And then there is the trying of the word! Everything that we are told that the word says, doesn’t necessarily mean that the word says it. This is where studying the word comes into play, to prove if what we are being taught is so:
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:10-11 – NKJV
Paul knew he was telling the truth, and yet he was impressed with the Bereans studying the scriptures to see if what he taught was true. I’m skeptical of people who get upset when they know people are checking out what they say in the word. One thing I love about the ministers I know, they get happy when they see or hear others studying the word. I can remember as a kid, that I saw Jim Jones throw the Bible on the floor. Ah! It’s time to leave! Why does this keep coming to my mind tonight? Is someone involved in a ministry that is questionable? If that’s you, put it to the test, and then do what God tells you to do!
I have to close, but I leave you with the words of Solomon:
All this I have proved by wisdom… Ecclesiastes 7:23 – NKJV
Proving all things involves the wisdom of God. Whether you are testing a person’s character because you want to marry them, or testing yourself, wisdom from God will be your top priority. Don’t walk around thinking that you are being used by the devil when you privately “test’ something by the Spirit of God. Notice, I said privately! And as you seek wisdom from Him, He will help you to prove all things! Wonderful Jesus!