Mar 14, 2008

this is a test

My digital watch has been set ahead one day - meaning, when I look at its date it's one number higher than the date it's supposed to be.

I'm not sure how it happened... maybe when I set it for Daylight Savings or something.

I first brushed against this reality when I wished someone a belated birthday because I thought I was a day late. They said I wasn't... that was puzzling to me.

Then I was saving a file to my computer and wondered why the one I'd saved a week before was off a day... that was odd, too.

Finally I went to sign a document that required a date... and it hit me - I had been referring to an inaccurate reference point.

Keep in mind, I would have arm wrestled you on this had you questioned me. Why would my digital watch be wrong? It keeps great time and is one of the more noted brands.

And yet... I was wrong.

The Bible says to "Test everything." Don't believe me? Here, let me quote it to you:
"Test everything. Hold on to the good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
I find it intriguing that the word "everything" is there... I looked it up in the original Greek language and found something amazing - the word "everything" is translated "everything."

Ah.


Which means, essentially, that we are to test everything to figure out the good. So basically we're encouraged to ask questions... yes, it is absolutely allowable for us to even test if our belief systems are valid. This also means that the Bible is saying, "Test everything, which means this book, too."

Hmm.

Some people are afraid of doing that... maybe we should be. Meaning, maybe while it is okay to test the Bible it doesn't mean we shouldn't do so with fear and trembling.

But it is okay to test it. Not to rewrite it, but to let it rewrite our understanding of it.

That means that if you've been coasting along on theology that you picked up several years ago, it might be good to revisit it to be sure it still holds true. It also means that if that theology is still true, you can gain further confidence in it. In this way you are not only studying the Bible but you're letting the Bible study you.


This floors me... ready?

When "tested" internally and externally, the good news is that the Good News remains good news after you test how good its news is.

I share that as someone who continues to do so, and always seem to find that this is a reference point that never seems to change.

The only catch in all of this is to test with a teachable heart and not a hard-hearted one. For instance, sometimes we "test" God by pushing back on His grace and cheapening it.
"Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes (1 Corinthians 10:7-9)

That said, I wonder... what in your life do you need to test?

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

"If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else." (Galatians 6:3-4)

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5)

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. (2 Corinthians 8:7-8)

"...you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:3)

5 comments:

David Malouf -- said...

FYI - leap year. Good post, though! I like the subtle shift you make from "testing the Bible" to "testing my theology which I think is 'Biblical' but is not implicitly so" (or so stated in my words).

David

Ed G. said...

this post has been officially tested.
Results: good post.

Tony Myles said...

Ah... leap year. Thank you.

Thanks for the feedback here, guys.

thatcoffeeguy said...

hey tony. i haven't been on blogspot in a very long time. i just saw your comment.

it's funny how four years can go by, i think i'm over it, yet something can happen and it all comes back. interesting news, the two pastors that treated me so badly quit a few weeks ago. you can read my post if you want. glad to hear things have worked out for you and your family. i'm doing good. just thought i say hey -- sorry for the late response. blessings.

Tony Myles said...

Will check... good to connect, Jay.