Chapter 14 – Testing


Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NIV

One morning I had a funny conversation with the pastor of a church I was serving for a short time in Turkey – we were talking about different parts of the Body of Christ and how different people’s gifts fit with serving the Church in different ways: the functions of different parts of the body. He exclaimed, “I know where I fit in, in the Body of Christ… I’m a nostril”! He went on to rather eloquently explain his two reasons. Firstly, that a nostril filters what enters into the body: and he saw himself as a filter for the Church, to ensure that they receive good teaching and warn against any harmful teaching. Secondly, that without the nostrils a person would be unprepared when entering new situations, because through the nostril a person can sniff out the situation and tell what positive or negative things are there: he felt that part of his responsibility was to ensure that the Church is prepared for what may come, and is aware of situations surrounding them.

Every day we have the potential to be influenced and shaped by all kinds of perspectives and opinions and information from what we see and hear and experience – through other people, the media, our situations and emotions… We all need some sort of filter to our spirits so that we receive and are nourished by good godly spiritual food rather than negative things that can be damaging to us and to our relationship with God. It is the responsibility of each individual to filter out what we do not need and what may be unhelpful, and to let ourselves receive what is good for us. I believe that this is very difficult, if not impossible, to do alone – and that we need God’s guidance in order to ‘filter’ correctly and healthily. So may we surrender to God our noses, and let Him shape us and teach us how to test all that we receive; teach us how to use our “spiritual sense of smell” to test situations and test what we hear or receive, to know how to act and what to feed our life.

As we trust God to give us wisdom for today’s decisions, He will lead us a step at a time into what He wants us to be doing in the future.

– Theodore Epp

Our sense of smell is used to test things – we smell fruit to see whether it has gone bad; we smell fabrics to test if they need washing; we smell cakes in the oven to see if they have burnt – the sense of smell is a very valuable testing mechanism. May we surrender to God our noses, the filters we use and our ways of testing and checking that what we receive and what nourishes us is good rather than harmful. And may we surrender to God our ability to test what is happening around us so as to be prepared for whatever may come. As we surrender, may God teach us how to filter or test all that we receive from the environments in which He has planted us.

May we surrender to God the ways in which we deal with situations as a result of such “smells” too – what do we do when we receive negativeness from situations or people? Do we run to God and talk with Him about it? Do we ignore it? Do we choose to reject it? Do we let it feed our thoughts and shape our attitudes and mindsets? Do we fight against it? Do we respond in anger, bitterness or retaliation? May we surrender to God our responses to our situations.

 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 

– 1 Timothy 4:16 NIV


Holy God my Leader,

Thank You for giving us noses to sense and test situations, and know how to act.

I surrender to You my spiritual sense of smell – please teach me to use it.

Please teach me to filter all that comes at me in life, so that I know how to respond.

Teach me what to feed my spirit – and teach me to test what I receive each day!

I surrender to You the way I act as a result of this sense of smell.

Please teach me Your ways, and shape my understanding.

May I live in Your ways, following You rather than my own thoughts and understanding.