21 But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Ė 1 Thessalonians 5:21 AMP
Our world today has become one of people on a mission. We are all out to prove something. Whether we are trying to prove it to ourselves, our family, or people we donít even know depends on both our personality and our situation. But Paul says very plainly here that we are to test and prove all things until we can recognize what is good. And when we find whatís good, thatís what we need to hold on to.
But how many of us actually function that way? How many Christians, let alone everyone else in the world, want to prove things until they can recognize what is good? Very often believers get so caught up in things of the world that they simply want their opinion to be heard and could care less about what is good.
At work, we head up a team working on a new project. As project leader, we pour our heart and soul into this project, and as a Christian, we feel that God is on our side. We automatically assume our way is better because of our relationship with Him, and we even fail to listen to all team members in our quest to prove that God is with us. In the end, the project is completely scrapped because the only thing we were able to prove was that Christians arenít very cooperative in the workplace.
But things sadly donít end there. Christians also try to prove themselves outside of work. They try to prove to their neighbors that they have a nicer home and a better family than anyone on the block. They set out to prove that they have a better marriage, better children, and smarter pets than anyone. What are we really trying to prove?
The worst is when we try to prove our superior spirituality to others. I have had believers for years share with me about how God told them one thing or another. Thatís great. I love it when God speaks to me just as much as the next guy does. But when comments of divine revelations from God are intermingled with a sense of arrogance and pride, I am often left wondering if those individuals are trying to prove something rather than just share it.
5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you Ė unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? Ė 2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP
The truth is laid out plainly here. We are supposed to test and prove ourselves. We are not supposed to do this so that we can stand boldly before others and claim that we are right, but so that we can see if we are showing the fruits of the Christian faith. In case you didnít know them, they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If we are not showing these fruits in our life, thereís a problem somewhere.
When I first began writing, I was turned down by one publisher that called my writing dogmatic. I try to hold myself to a very literal interpretation of the Bible and I stand by what the Word says. My beliefs and opinions are out there for the world to see, but I do not try to force my beliefs on anyone. There has, however, been a time in my life when I didnít live that way.
Years before I was saved I was involved in numerous civic organizations in the community I used to live in. In these organizations I held leadership positions continually, and most of the time I had my way. If I wanted something done, I got it done, even if I had to do it by myself. I was out to prove to the world that my way was the best way around.
Now after years of looking and even trying to prove that Iím a good, Bible-believing Christian, I find the tables have been turned. You see, Godís Word can stand all by itself. I donít have to prove anything in it, but I sure do enjoy telling everyone about how I feel about it. The word prove literally means to show something to be true. Hey, the Bible is true, so thereís no need to try to prove it. Many believers say the words are hard to understand, but with the countless resources available today, understanding is available at the fingertips of Christians worldwide.
What are you trying to prove? Are you trying to prove youíre the best employee at work? Are you trying to prove that you live in the best house? Are you trying to prove that youíre the best spouse or parent ever? Are you trying to prove that you know more about God than anyone else? Remember that God doesnít need us to prove anything for Him. We just have to prove ourselves. It may make us look at ourselves in a way that we would rather not see, but if we cannot prove the presence of godly fruit in our lives, how effective are we in our witness to others? What are we really trying to prove?