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.”
Acts 17:11 (NIV)
What’s the best compliment you’ve received lately? Did it have something to do with your performance, looks or character … or perhaps all three?
Dr. Luke, the author of the book of Acts, delivered a big compliment to a group of Bereans. Berea was a bustling city in what is now the country of Macedonia, just above Greece. This team of Bereans sought truth, wanting to live by reason, not by feelings alone.
Luke said living like this constituted “noble character.”
It is noble to live by reason. When we live by the opposite, by feelings, we can often be betrayed. Feelings are fickle. They sway easily.
So feelings must follow facts, not take the lead. Our world tells us to operate by feelings, asking us to put our faith in feelings over facts. We’re noble when we don’t subscribe to this lifestyle.
Living by reason is way wiser, way better.
Note three accents in today’s verse:
RECEPTIVITY: The Bereans received the gospel with eagerness. They didn’t let a need for comfort or control limit their openness to a different way of thinking or doing things.
Current culture couldn’t dominate how they lived. Their minds and hearts were open. Same goes for us.
REASON: The Bereans believed that living by reason meant living based on facts, placing faith in the facts more than feelings. When we do this, feelings will follow.
These Bereans learned to test everything against the Scriptures. As they did, they discovered how much more rational it is to believe God/the Bible/Jesus than to reject them.
They found it’s far more sensible to follow God’s Playbook than to follow any other religion or cultural norm. Same goes for us.
RHYTHM: The Bereans established a rhythm of getting into God’s Word consistently. They “examined the Scriptures daily.” This became their daily discipline.
There was no spiritual laziness in these folks. Same goes for us.
So let’s be Bereans. Let’s let good biblical receptivity, reason and rhythm rule our daily life decisions. Great compliments may come. Noble character will grow. And a more stable, solid life is sure to follow.
Reflect: How open are you to living beyond culture and feelings? Who or what steps could help you grow like a Berean?
Would you commit to reading a little of God’s Word everyday and test everything in your life against it? (How about memorizing Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:18 and Psalm 119:105 to help you?)
A prayer to consider: LORD, thanks for the Berean example. I believe living like this can be done, must be done in my world. Give me wisdom and courage to take steps like them each day, for Your glory and my good. Amen.