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Open-mindedness is a good quality. But good qualities do not operate in isolation. They must be applied wisely and balanced with other equally important principles. When it comes to open-mindedness, someone has cleverly said that our minds are like our mouths: we open them in order to close them on something solid. There comes a time when, having open-mindedly sought the truth, we ought to hold on to the truth we have gained. Especially in matters of religion, it is important that we not let settled truths get away from us. We ought to hold on to what we know God has revealed.
In both the Old and the New Testaments, we are warned that we must neither add to nor take away from God's word (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18,19; etc.). Holding on to what God has revealed, just as He has given it to us, requires both courage and humility. If our courage fails us, we may not do all that God has said. We may fear that some of God's instructions will bring about undesirable consequences, so we leave off the parts we deem inexpedient or inconvenient. On the other hand, however, if our humility fails us, we may go beyond what God has said, supplementing what we know He has revealed with additional "truths" of our own discovery.
A common plea of those who have done either less or more than God said is that there were "extenuating circumstances." "I had no choice but to do as I did" is frequently heard, as well as "I was deceived." The thought that runs through almost every rationalization is that our intent was to do things God's way eventually, but following a different path was "necessary" in the short run. We "had" to bend the rules to get through the present emergency.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of what God has once and for all revealed stands in contrast to all the opinions of human wisdom about what is "necessary." As for our own judgment, we should have a healthy skepticism about how reliable it is. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart," Solomon said, "and do not lean on your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). So are we content to hold on to the truths that God has given us? We certainly should be. Throughout the coming week, let's "buy truth, and do not sell it" (Prov. 23:23).
Monday: Genesis 3:1-7
Key Idea: By deceit, Satan will attempt to break our confidence in what God has said.
Questions for Family Growth: Think carefully: in order to persuade Eve to disobey God, what was the basic lie about God that Satan had to get her to believe? What concern for his brethren did Paul express in 2 Cor. 11:3?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:7,8.
Tuesday: 2 Samuel 6:5-7
Key Idea: Disobedience shows a lack of confidence that God's way will work.
Questions for Family Growth: How might Uzzah have rationalized or explained his disobedience? What was the mistake in his thinking? Do we ever have to disobey God? Consider 1 Cor. 10:13. How are trust and obedience connected?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:9.
Wednesday: 1 Samuel 13:8-15; 15:1-23
Key Idea: It takes both courage and humility to obey God's instructions.
Questions for Family Growth: What principle is taught in Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18,19; etc.? Why is taking away from God's word a failure of courage? Why is adding to God's word a failure of humility?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:10,11.
Thursday: 1 Kings 13:11-19
Key Idea: We should measure alleged new revelations by what we know God has already revealed.
Questions for Family Growth: Why should the young prophet not have believed what the old prophet said? What were the Bereans commended for doing in Ac. 17:11? Is there any way to avoid the hard work of testing for truth?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:12.
Friday: 2 Thessalonians 2:15
Key Idea: We ought never to give up truths that have been revealed by God.
Questions for Family Growth: In religion, is the word "tradition" always a bad word? What are the traditions we are told to hold on to and never give up? What does Paul say in Gal. 1:6-9? What mark of maturity is in Eph. 4:14-16?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:13.