Choosing the Good
Words from Jesus
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I have called you to share My message, to save lost souls, to be a living example of My message and to use relatable methods, so that My Word and truth will spread far and wide. To do this effectively, you must not let yourself be entangled in the things of this world.
There is much in the secular world that you can learn from and that can benefit My work—services, knowledge, experience, technology. There is much that is good and beneficial, whether it is for informational, educational, or recreational purposes. It’s up to you to “choose the good and eschew the evil.”1
My counsel holds true that “What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what partnership has light with darkness?”2 The dangers of the negative and ungodly elements of the world are as real as ever. The truth of My Word has not changed. However, not everything in the world is filled with “unrighteousness” or “darkness.”
Some input from the world is negative, ungodly, and faith-destroying; such input is not good for anyone’s spirit under any circumstances. Other things are neutral, and other forms of input may be neutral in small doses, but may be negative or detrimental if used or engaged in to a high degree.
One of the biggest dangers with input from the world is not so much the content—as there is much good and helpful information—but the time that it takes from other important areas of your life and work if engaged in excessively. Often it’s not that the thing engaged in is so negative in itself, but an excess of anything can have a negative effect in the long run. If something—even something that can be beneficial—is taking your time from the most important things, then it can become detrimental. It’s a matter of how you’re spending your time; it’s a matter of priorities.
If you’re spending time participating in worldly entertainment, for example, but don’t have enough time to invest in the things that count—such as the mission, or your children, or living a healthy lifestyle, or your spiritual well-being—then you may want to examine your priorities. If your input is taking away from other good things in your life—such as time with others, time investing in your work for Me, or time that you’d invest in your spiritual life—then it’s not a wise investment choice that will render the greatest dividends.
When choosing whether or not to partake of something from the world, it’s helpful to ask yourself: “Is it going to benefit me in some way? What is the goal I’m after, and is this going to achieve the results I’m looking for?” The goal may not be directly related to your spiritual life or calling, but it should be a worthwhile goal that will benefit your life, your character, your interactions with others, or your career; there should be a worthwhile reason for investing your time.
As a Christian, you want people to clearly see My values alive in you. You want your actions, countenance, words, and lifestyle to reflect godly qualities. Upon getting to know you, you want people to be able to say: “They’re principled. They’re honest and kind. They’re trustworthy. They’re good Christians.”
If the things you take in aid you in living a godly, balanced, happy life, then your reflection will remain clear and vivid. People will see Me within you. But if what you take in is detrimental or negative, then it can taint the good and muddy the waters, so that the reflection people see is not so clear or positive. Your actions, your speech, your thoughts, your reactions and your countenance can begin to reflect elements of the world. People may still see some of My traits within you, but it won’t be as clear as it could be.
You have to determine if the input you invest your time in is going to make My reflection in you brighter or dimmer. By being honest with yourself and seeking Me for guidance, you’ll be able to make well-informed and wise decisions about what you engage in, and the influences that may affect you.
When I’m important to you and maintaining a strong spiritual life is important to you; when being a quality representative of Me to others is important to you; when your Christian values and the qualities of a disciple are important to you; when you are judicious as far as what you invest your time and talents in, then you are in a good position to weigh the pros and cons of input you engage in, and judge what is or isn’t worth your time and acceptable for your spirit.
I love you, and I want you to be happy, to enjoy life, have your needs met, and protect your spirit. I can help you to find a good balance in these things. As you seek Me and My Word, I will guide you.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.3
Look the right way
Look the right way! In the world around you, there are vistas of bright beauty as well as dark, ugly wastelands. When you look the right way—toward what is true, noble, lovely—you are encouraged and strengthened. I created you with a great capacity to enjoy beauty and goodness. Your soul resonates with these blessings, drawing strength from them.
As you go through this day, you will encounter things that make you cringe, things that are wrong or ugly. Deal with these as you must, but do not let them become your focus. Remember that I am with you, and listen to Me. Hear Me saying time after time, “Look the right way.”
There is beauty not only in the visible world but also in what is unseen. This world in its fallen condition can never satisfy you fully. You yearn for perfection, and I am the fulfillment of that deep longing. I am perfect in every way, yet I am able to stay close to you as you walk through this sin-stained world. So look the right way—toward blessings, toward Me—and the Joy of My Presence will shine upon you.4
Originally published October 2009, unless otherwise indicated. Adapted and republished September 2019. Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Dooley.
1 1 Peter 3:11.
2 2 Corinthians 6:14.
3 Philippians 4:8.
4 Sarah Young, Jesus Today (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
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- God’s Healing Balm in Times of Grief
- Hurry and Worry
- One Thing Before All Things
- Faith Like Gold
- Learning About God’s Mercy
- Trusting Through the Silence
- A Life Well Lived, Today and for the Future
- How God Gave Me a Home
- Setting Our Affections on Things Above