“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24
Jesus’ arrival did not dispel the competing voices, it drew them out. Maybe you thought that once you became a Christian all doubt would cease. Jesus tells us how to deal with different opinions about Him: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (7:24).
How do you do that? In a world of competing voices, how can you grow in discernment? How can you know the truth? How can you judge with right judgment? “But,” someone might object, “I’m not a Bible scholar, and besides, we’re not supposed to judge others.”
J. C. Ryle observed, “The difficulty of finding out ‘what is truth’… is a common subject of complaint among men. They point to the many differences which prevail among Christians on matters of doctrine, and profess to be unable to decide who is right. In thousands of cases this professed inability to find out truth becomes an excuse for living without any religion at all.”
The danger is that our unwillingness to discern truth becomes an excuse for living without faith. It’s true, we’re not supposed to judge in just any old way. We are supposed to use what Jesus called “right judgment.” “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” But how do you do this? Ask yourself these three questions: Am I listening to God’s Word? Am I asking for God’s help? Am I submitting to God’s will?
We will meditate on each of these questions in the days ahead.
When faced with competing voices, do you find yourself throwing up your hands and, as Ryle put it, “living without any religion at all?” By avoiding one danger, how does this behavior pave the way for a greater danger?