A man bought a new hunting dog. Eager to see how he would perform, he took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer that had crossed the bear’s path. A few moments later he halted again, this time smelling a raccoon that had crossed the path of the deer. Then a turkey, a rabbit, and so on, until finally the breathless hunter caught up with his dog, only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field mouse.
One of the things for which Paul prayed was for his brethren in Colossae to be able to “approve the things that are excellent” (Phil. 1:10). He used a word here that was common among metallurgists. As they tested the quality of metal, they “approved” in the metal that which was genuine. It is used in this passage of testing that which is good or evil. That is not always easy. Easy or not, it is the thing responsible Christians must do.
Our faith gets involved in this. We should test the excellency of our personal faith. Peter informed his readers that “for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” but also told them how beneficial such would be. He concluded, that “your faith, which is more precious than all the gold in the world, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:6-7). The word “proved” here is the same as in Col. 1:10).
Often Christians start out with high resolve, putting the kingdom of God first in their lives, but their attention is soon diverted to things of lesser worth. One pursuit leads to another until they’ve strayed far from their original purpose. Let us do our best to put first things first. So, take the divine admonition and stay on track and let nothing cause you to deviate from the straight and narrow way.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you” (Prov. 4:25).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).