The other day, as usual, I was running late. As I flew down the highway, I noticed that the time I saw on a digital marquee read much earlier than I thought it was. I checked that message against my cell phone, which always displays the accurate time. Sure enough, the time on the marquee was about 10 minutes early. I really wished that the time on the sign would have been right, because then I would not be running quite so late. But, my cell phone displayed the disappointing reality of my tardiness.
As followers of Christ, we are often surrounded by messages that we would like to believe are true. There are things that we read, see and hear that, if true, would make our lives much easier. For example, I recently heard a pastor on TV say that people needed to give his ministry $1,000 if they wanted their health or money problems to be solved. He even encouraged people to put this offering on their credit card if they did not have the cash. Another well-known televangelist recently told someone that it was OK to divorce his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
I sure wish my money problems could be solved with the swipe of a credit card. And, perhaps, divorcing one’s debilitated spouse and starting a life with someone else might seem like an easy way out of a very difficult situation. However, when we hear messages like these we have got to test them for accuracy. We must compare them with the “gold standard” of scripture and see if they hold up as true, following these instructions from 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”