August 4, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. - 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.
You most likely know what a game of tug-of-war is but for those who don't here is my own definition, “the game of two teams on opposite sides of a line pulling on the same rope until one team pulls the other across the line.” Did you know that tug-of-war is an international sport? There is an International Tug-of-War Federation with rules for the sport and many member organizations. Everything is defined and detailed from footwear, to gloves, to size and type of rope. Until this morning when I played tug-of-war with the children in church, it had been years, since I had even thought of the game - sorry! Sport. But it did remind me that you have to get a good grip, dig in with your feet and give it all that you've got or an equally matched team will pull you across the line.
The apostle Paul tells us to “hold fast what is good.” “Hold fast” basically means what the team members playing tug-of-war do. To “hold fast” spiritually is to grab hold, dig in, and give it all you've got to hang on to what is good.
So, what is it that we are to “hold fast” to? Obviously, “what is good.” Some things immediately come to mind like, God's Word, Church, Prayer, and Fellowship with Spirit filled believers. But are there other things that are good that we are allowed to “hold fast” too? Yes! And Paul gives us a list in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.”
Okay, each one of the things in Paul's list is subject to interpretation. Some of the things on my list are those in my family, my wife, my children, daughter-in-law, and my grandchildren. Some other things come to mind like taking a walk outside and admiring the beautiful world that God has created. Picking up a Christian book and being inspired to go beyond where I have been before with my Lord.
Are you holding fast to the good and beautiful or to what you know is evil? Whose team in this spiritual tug of war are you on? Isn't it time to decide once and for all?