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One of my friends posted some wisdom gleaned from a farmer on her Facebook page a couple of days ago.  As I read through the list of pithy one-liners, a particular nugget of truth jumped out at me:

Always drink upstream from the herd.

It makes sense.  Water upstream from the herd is pure and clean and safe. Water downstream from the herd contains their dirt, their saliva, their germs, their… well, you get the idea.  It’s not a pretty picture.

But God placed another thought in my mind – kind of an “Ah-Ha” moment.

“This applies to My Word,” I heard Him say.

I pondered His statement for a moment.  He is absolutely right, as always.

How often do I, as a lazy Christian, take another person’s word for what the Bible says?  How many times have I depended on a pastor or Sunday School teacher or friend to spoon-feed Scripture to me?  When was the last time I read commentary notes on a verse, using them like Cliff notes – instead of taking the time to meditate on the inspired Word of God?  Why do I so often rely on human interpretation of the Bible, and ignore the Holy Spirit’s interpretation?

When I allow myself to depend on anything other than the Word – the holy, inspired Word of God – illuminated for me by the Holy Spirit, I run the risk of consuming contaminated ideas.  I open myself up to truth that has been twisted and shaped into human lies. Satan’s lies.  And how easy it is to allow this contamination to take root in my head and my heart!

To guard my heart and preserve my peace of mind, I must stay close to the Bible.  Daily Bible reading, prayer, and meditation on Scripture will keep me in tune with the truth.  And when my head and heart are filled with God’s truth, there is no room for the lies and filth!

We are given an excellent example of this discipline in Acts:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. ~ Acts 17:10-12, NIV (emphasis mine)

God reminded me that I have a responsibility to “examine the Scriptures” to see if what I hear from other Christians actually lines up with His revelation to us in the Bible.  “As a result,” many of the people around me may be led to believe. Some of them may be corrected, with gentleness and love.  And some may be influenced to accept the responsibility of “drinking upstream” for themselves.

I’m going to pay more attention to my location… and stay upstream more often.

Are you with me?