Philippians 1:9-11 tells us we should never stop growing in love and discernment. The passage goes on to tell us this is important so we can approve the good things and stay away from the bad. The goal of which is to be blameless when Christ returns. All of us want to be blameless before Christ, and none of us want to be caught unaware when He returns.
If you should fear anything in life, fear what Christ’s return will find you doing. Now, if we live our lives wholly devoted to Him, we won’t have to worry about it. If we let compromise come into our lives, who knows what Jesus may find us doing. We only get one shot to do this right.
Back to the passage in Philippians… it is our duty as Christ-followers to always examine what we are learning. No teacher is above reproach (especially this one). But there is a vast difference between someone who says something in haste or error and those who intentionally teach a false gospel without repentance. I am all for grace when a brother or sister in Christ messes up. We must be ever growing in love after all. But don’t forget, Paul also instructed us to grow in discernment. We must be ever vigilant in looking out for false teachers and false teaching.
It’s a strange time. Many of the Christian leaders who have been influential in my life have suddenly taken a turn and are no longer preaching the simple and true gospel of Jesus Christ, but are proclaiming a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-8). It’s discouraging and heartbreaking. I also feel the weight of having recommended these people to others. Therefore, we must always be growing, always examining, and re-examining the messages we are allowing into our minds. The trip from mind to heart is short, so we must guard it well.
I’m in a season where I am reevaluating the people I read, listen to, and watch. My faith is not in crisis. I’m excited to see what the Lord will teach me during this time. Already my love and appreciation for Scripture is growing by leaps and bounds. Over the past 30 years, I think the Church at large has relied too much on the teaching of celebrity pastors and has been saturated by music of questionable origin and conviction. Evangelical Christianity has become an industry that has coincided with the demise of Christian morals and devotion to God in America and the Western world.
But there is good news, as there always is when Jesus is involved. The Church is being shaken and sifted. Much of what we’ve known and believed must fall away. That’s where prayer-infused discernment comes in. Ask God to strip away what is false and build up what is true. The Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand. Let’s get back to that message. Let’s get back to a genuine love of brother, sister, and stranger alike. Never stop growing in love, knowledge, or discernment. Test every spirit (1 John 4:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Examine the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-11). And beware of deception (2 Timothy 4:3-4; Galatians 6:7; Matthew 24:23-25; Acts 20:28-30). Follow Christ and Christ alone. Only He will last. Only He will remain. And He is all you need. This is good news, simple, freeing, and true.