For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (ESV)
We live in a world that has more access to information than any century of civilization has ever known. If you have a question about almost anything you can get access to the answer within seconds. We tend to think that this is always a good thing. I wonder if the Apostle Paul would agree. He says something curious in this verse about our approach to what we know.
We are to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. It is evident in this instruction that we are to be more focused on the pursuit of that which is good. It seems that the evil will find us without us looking for it. Our pursuit of that which is good will be a preparation for the evil that surrounds us without us making any effort to find it.
So, let's consider what is good. Everything that proceeds from God himself is good. In his holy Word we have the perfect revelation of who God is and his plan to bring redemption to mankind. If we are going to be wise as to what is good we are going to have to prioritize knowing the Word of God. This instruction that Paul gave the church at Rome almost two thousand years ago is so pertinent for today.
What is evil? The evil that we encounter is that which the Devil does to distort, counter, twist, and malign the good that God has given. In the Garden of Eden the serpent said to Eve, "Did God really say?" He is still using that line. We can obsess ourselves with knowing every detail of the enemy's schemes, but Paul says the best strategy is to be innocent about that and focus on pursuing the wisdom of the Word of God.
How do you respond to the evil around you? Are you seeking to be more wise about God's holy Word? Ask the Lord to make you wise. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).