“Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

PERSONAL GROWTH REQUIRES A CONSTANT REFINEMENT OF OUR UNDERSTANDING. As the days come and go, we have hundreds of opportunities to clarify our thinking. We are given many chances to learn new principles, clear up misunderstandings, and view reality from a higher vantage point. But such learning is not automatic. We must be open to having our perspective heightened, and we must be willing to do a certain amount of work. It takes diligence to broaden the boundaries of our knowledge and improve the accuracy of our thinking. At all costs, we must want to know what is real as opposed to what is illusory.

Much, if not most, of the information that is presented to our minds on any given day is false or incomplete. A serious commitment to God means that we must sift through the assortment of ideas that come to us and test these for truth and fairness. “Test all things,” Paul wrote, and “hold fast what is good.” We can ill afford to be casual in our acceptance of concepts and principles. Although it is sometimes difficult to do, a choice must be made to discard whatever fails the test of truth. Edward Young wrote of that “wisdom, awful wisdom! which inspects, discerns, compares, weighs, separates, infers, seizes the right, and holds it to the last.” Quality lives are built on quality information, and growth toward God requires growth in our powers of judgment.

Ultimately, of course, “time will tell,” as we say. Whatever is false and illusory will eventually be seen as such, and whatever is true will still be standing when everything else has vanished. In the meantime, we need to be making progress toward truth at every opportunity. As Georges Braque observed, “Truth exists; only falsehood has to be invented.” What we want are lives of discovery: discovery of what is real, solid, and substantial.

Man with his burning soul
Has but an hour of breath
To build a ship of truth
In which his soul may sail
Sail on the sea of death
For death takes toll
Of beauty, courage, youth,
Of all but truth.
(John Masefield)

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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