Where does your authority come from when you make decisions? To whom do you look to for your values? Who are your “idols”? Maybe you enjoy listening to sermons of specific pastors, watching their programs, reading their books. Perhaps you think that they are the end all be all for all things Christian and you aspire to one day be like them. I know personally I like to reference Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Charles Calvin and more modern pastors like John MacArthur. But does that mean I have to agree with everything they say? Does that mean that they are the ultimate authority when I have questions? No. The Bible is the ultimate authority. It’s upon Jesus that the foundation of our lives has been laid. It’s through His word that we get our authority, our values, the model for our lives.
The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 3:11 ESV, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus must be the foundation of our faith. It’s upon Him that we build. But the Apostle continues his discussion by offering a warning:
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw- each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” I Corinthians 3:12-15 ESV
This verse indicates to us that those men that come along to build upon our foundation better do so with sound doctrines of Jesus and their purity, because the “fire” will test their work. We must keep in mind that the “men” we choose to follow are fallen people, just like us. This is why despite the potential to learn valuable lessons and insight at times, we must also “test everything; hold fast what is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21 It’s for these reasons that discernment is so critical.
Prayer: The only real way to gain discernment is to ask God for it. Just as James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Pray for the wisdom of discernment that the voices of those you are exposed to speak the truths of the Word of God.
Additional Study: Matthew 16:5-12 Ephesians 2:18-22 I Corinthians 3:18-23