Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. (1 John 4:1)

AS A CHILD, Rich learned by asking questions, especially why and how. Later, asking questions of adults and other experts formed the broad basis of his education as a musician and a pastor. After recording his first album, he raised money to build a recording studio, all the while questioning experts. His schooling as a sound engineer came from the discipline of question and answer: he sought experts, read recording magazines with trusted leaders, listened, and learned. Rich never stopped asking why and how, in his kind and thoughtful way. Those leaders became friends. Rather than believing the ads in magazines or the websites promising fantastic results, Rich asked people who used the gear, knew its foibles and fine points. He tested the spirits, tested the wisdom by seeing if it actually worked, and observed the fruit in the people’s lives and work.

We do the same in our spiritual lives. With so many opinions and biases shouted at us, we test the wisdom others offer to see if it holds up to God’s Word, to see if people’s words match their lives. We test it by asking questions, kindly and with respect: Why? How? Then, when it lines up, we have new standards for living in, for applying, God’s words to us.

Keep asking questions. You never know what music God will make.

Examine what voices you have been believing, and determine how you will test them today.

Jane Rubietta is the author of the deeper devotions Finding Life, Finding the Messiah, and Finding Your Promise (Wesleyan Publishing House). She also loves life, words, the outdoors, and garden-fresh tomatoes.