We live in a world of information: Good information — I love that I can get a quick overview on a subject from Wikipedia. Bad information — ever been suckered by one of those fake photos? Influential information — lets face it folks, propaganda of every type is on the rise, if they can get you to believe it, they can get you to support it, then they can get you to buy it. Fun information — from sports to gossip magazines to politics to viral videos, something for everyone.
There are more Christian blogs, tweets, posts, articles, books, prophetic words, songs, visions, opinions, and points of view, than ever. Why? Its easier to produce and easier to access.
“One idea lights a thousand candles.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
All of this information contains ideas, and ideas are an incredibly powerful force in our lives as we pursue the Kingdom of God through relationship with Jesus Christ. We are encouraged to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds,” (Rom. 12:2), and to “set your minds on things above,” (Col. 3:2). One could argue that this is becoming increasingly difficult in the world we live in. We are even accused of having attention spans shorter than goldfish!
Surprisingly, Paul and his companions faced a similar predicament in their ministry in the city of Athens, Greece. Luke offers some commentary on the people of Athens saying, “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talkingabout and listening to the latest ideas,” (Acts 17:21). They were idea chasers.
Today, turning into an “idea chaser” remains a danger, even for Christians. Here’s a few things to keep in mind (pardon the pun):
Ideas may be morally good, neutral, or evil. On the positive side they can be used for the glory of God or might simply reflect his power and creativity – even in a normal day-to-day “common grace” way. On the negative side they can have a distracting influence and even work directly against God. “We demolish arguments and every prevention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Ideas must be submitted to the Word of God. PLEASE GET THESE POINTS:
- Firstly, there is no substitute for a thorough and painstaking commitment to knowing God’s Word for yourself. This includes not only knowing what God’s Word says, but knowing HOW varying parts of God’s Word works together.
- Secondly, to deepen your understanding of scripture you must go to the right sources: the Bible, churches which teach the Bible, biblical scholarship designed to help you understand the Bible, biblically trained pastors, a healthy church family, and dependence on the Holy Spirit.
- Thirdly, the scriptures are not for head knowledge, they are to lead us into relationship with God and then give us perspective on how to live for him. Jesus said to the Sadducees, who claimed to know the scriptures and specialized in the Law of Moses, “You are in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God,” (Matt. 22:29). This was a relational statement!
Ideas must be accompanied by humility. Often our ideas are birthed from personal experience, religious history, family history, and emotional baggage. If we do not maintain a sense of humility we will not allow our ideas to be challenged by God’s Word and challenged by those who care for our walk with God. Stubbornness sets in and harmful ideas have a way of further sidetracking our faith and focus.
2 Timothy 2:15-17a “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.”
To watch my sermon on Acts 17:16-23 click here.