Okay, bear with me. A more accurate title might have been “A Chicken Wing Approach to Discerning Theology”, but it wasn’t as catchy. There is an analogy or metaphor or whatever floating around in there somewhere.
I’ve been reading a fellow mom’s blog of late, Adventures in Mercy, where there has been great discussion and banter about formulas and philosophies in several different areas. Somewhere in the midst of the posts and comments, there was a comment written that while we should all know how to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” of any new concept we come across, not all believers are mature enough to do that. I agree, and would add that there are many people out there that want to have it all figured out for them and just want to follow something that’s all laid out for them. So they swallow it all.
It’s not the words or views of your pastor, your mentor, your parenting philosophy guru (for lack of a better word), or any teacher or teachings or philosophies that you may follow that are responsible for what you believe and/or do. It’s YOU. It’s YOUR responsibility to
1 Thessalonians 5:21,22
“Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
When the Holy Spirit Who is your Counselor nudges you or speaks to your heart or raises a red flag or pricks your spirit or does whatever He does to get your attention, LISTEN TO HIM. Learn to listen early, so that the equivalent of a spiritual 2×4 doesn’t come sailing your way. Worse yet, if you won’t listen to the promptings from the Holy Spirit, He may just quit trying to get your attention altogether.
Oh yeah, about chicken wings. (For those of you who don’t eat chicken wings, this metaphor may be lost on you.) As good and tasty and as aromatic as chicken wings can be, one needs to take a bit of time to glean the meat from the bones. It does take some time and effort, but to ingest and take into one’s system only the good parts of a chicken wing is a pretty important process, and nearly always a messy one. To not take the time, however, and to take the bones into your system can really mess you up.
It’s the same with concepts and philosophies and teachings . . . it takes time and effort to sort truth from error; it can be time consuming and messy, but necessary for good spiritual health. And there will be times when you discover that the idea at hand is so full of bones that it’s just not worth your time. That’s okay. Move on. Or maybe God would have you to study about a certain “bony” philosophy or movement to learn all you can to caution others who come across your path practicing or expressing an interest in that philosophy or movement.
Pray for wisdom and discernment and direction. Be faithful to press on in an area in which the Holy Spirit is challenging you. Be willing and faithful to step away from things He shows you are not for you, even if they are attractive to you.
It’s your responsibility.