Crush the Snake

“I want you to be wise as to what is good” (Romans 16:19 ESV).

Wise With the True, Good, and Beautiful

Wisdom is to know something fully and deeply and to apply it practically to your life. The good is all things consistent with God’s will, his word, and his world. God called the original creation, very good! “Wise as to what is good” means to pursue those things that uplift and ennoble the soul. Fill your mind and heart and life with knowledge and experiences that enrich and enhance God’s will in your life.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

As we pour into our minds the true and beautiful, our desires increase for that which pleases God. And as the bucket fills with good, it leaves less room for impure thoughts and desires.

Paul may be quoting Jesus who said in Matthew 10:16, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Snakes are shrewd and clever. Be shrewd in this world AND be innocent towards evil, like a dove—a symbol of purity.

As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us and a capacity for an inner relish and delighting in the things of God. This new delight is truly one of the huge blessings in becoming a Christian. Everything good is connected to the glory of God. Even eating and drinking are activities we connect with the goodness and glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). That’s why many of us say thank you to God before we eat. The poor atheist has no one to thank for his medium rare steak with a luscious side potato, fresh salad, and savory strawberry pie. That’s my dream meal. What should I taste as I eat it? Theology. I taste the goodness and beauty of God. As I do, I’m being wise toward what is good.

As Romans has taught us, nothing is better than the gospel. Nothing is more wonderful than the amazing work of God to make me righteous forever by the work of Jesus for me. As the fulness of all God’s goodness toward me is savored, I am being wise toward what is good.

Paul says, fill your heart with the true, the good, and the beautiful. By doing so, it leaves little room to relish the opposite.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2021 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

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