Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:21-22 The standard by which we are to accept or reject every idea, emotion, or opportunity is whether it is “good” or “evil.” No middle ground is mentioned.
How do we know what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong? The only infallible benchmark we have is God’s Word, the Bible. We cannot make decisions based upon our feelings at the moment, the advice or rationale of others, or society’s changing ideas of what is acceptable. Nor are we to make decisions only after “trying out” all our options. We are not told to “experiment with everything” but to prove (test) all things. Experience, emphatically, is not the best teacher. Instruction is. And in the Bible we find the instruction we need regarding how we are to live, what priorities we are to hold, and how we are to view the world around us.
Once we have applied God’s Word to any particular issue in our lives, we are then told to whole-heartedly pursue the indicated course of action. If a thing is good, we are to “hold fast” to it, not substituting or selling it for anything. If it is evil, we are to “abstain” from it, not sampling or teasing with it in small doses.