Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
I can think I know how to recognize good and evil. I over-simplify. Honesty is good. Deceit is evil. Forgiveness is good. Revenge is evil. But get into the deep complexities of scripture and what God calls good and evil and things get muddy because of my own sinful nature. Paul had to tell the Roman church to be intentional about gaining wisdom regarding ‘good’ and staying ‘innocent’ about evil. If it were so simple, why the mandate?
Jesus said it another way about my blindness to good and evil. He said, And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3:19 Because of my sinful nature, I won’t be attracted to good. I won’t even recognize the Light when it is right in front of me. How many called Jesus evil instead of righteous? Even His own family.
‘Walking in the Light’ and ‘abiding in the Vine’ are concepts Jesus used to help me understand how imperative it is to live ‘in Christ.’ The connection we have because of the indwelling of His Spirit gives me instant access to wisdom and discernment. When I want to call an affliction bad, the Spirit of God may tell me that it is a saving affliction – designed to grow my faith. When I call prosperity good, the Spirit of God may tell me that it is dangerous. I can even call my material goods God’s blessing when I’ve really amassed it out of selfish ambition.
How many things in my life aren’t I seeing clearly today? Half of my prayer requests may be gifts in disguise. And what about the things I’ve concluded are ‘good’ and don’t need prayer? Perhaps those are really the critical needs. Jesus’ words are difficult and scripture does not open up to my understanding without the help of the Spirit. I don’t know how much I need Him on a daily basis, even yet. My churchy background lulls me into believing that I understand more than I do. The verses I committed to memory, the stories I heard addressed in thousands of sermons, may not yet be grasped the way they should be. God is waiting for me to cry out for clear eyes, open ears, and heart that perceives spiritual realities. None of these can I bring about by myself. All are given to the heart of the seeker who comes with great need.
I want to live like Solomon in his early years. He called out to you to say that he was like a little child and didn’t know where to go without you. Take me by the hand, Lord, and teach me. Amen