Testing the spirits

I (D0n) read a lot. Guess that’s not really a confession coming from someone with a college degree in Literature. But nonetheless …

One magazine I really like is Neue. It touts itself as “The magazine for leaders shaping the future of the church.” Pretty tall order, if you ask me. Sometimes I think it falls short of that goal, but the Spring 2012 issue offers quite a bit of really interesting content. In particular, they asked “13 of today’s most influential pastors” to give advice to “emerging leaders” in the US church.

One thought that caught my eye is from Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. He said, “We have greater access to information than any other generation. But information is not knowledge. What are you doing to ‘test the spirits’ (1 John 4:12) and practice discernment in the Google Age?”

And that’s been a point I’ve considered a lot over the past couple years. There is a wealth of information available extremely rapidly to everyone today, but we know that not every source is credible, not every piece of data is accurate. And, as much as we need to carefully guard our hearts and minds and “test the spirits,” how much more responsibility do we carry as people who work with kids?

I see it as a mandate that we take very seriously the call to teach children and teens discernment and critical thinking skills. How can they be identify the truth within an ocean of information unless they are given the tools to sift it out? Of course the Holy Spirit is our guide, but scripture does teach that we are to “test the spirits” – to use the discernment God has given to decide what is right.

So, how do we step up to that challenge?


One response to “Testing the spirits

  • Arlyn

    Discernment is absolutely essential. Just this past weekend I did a web search for a trail we wanted to hike. I found a site that seemed very knowledgeable about the trail and printed the maps to the trail and of the trail itself. Because we had the map, we didn’t read the sign at the beginning of the trail. We hiked the whole trail and did not find the item for which we were looking. We went to the sign at the beginning of the trail and found that the item for which we were looking was actually on the trail that started across the road and went in exactly the opposite direction from the one we hiked. The directions and map on the web were clear and convincing, but wrong.

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