We live in troubled times. There is a war in America. The sides are good and evil, light and dark, heaven against hell.

The media is a major focal point of this war. That’s why our job as writers is important.

Entertainment, news media, social media—this is a real battleground in this war.

If you write with Jesus, you are a warrior in this battle.

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This month can be especially challenging. I’m not going to focus on gender and sexuality stuff. I think the Bible is quite clear on the subject, but the application of the Bible’s clear instructions is best worked out in your local church context.

I want to focus instead on how we operate as content creators and influencers in a hostile world—especially when some of that hostility seems to come from inside of the Church.

I’ve written before that not everyone you disagree with is a false teacher. There is a difference between a bad teaching and a false teacher.

However, there are real false teachers and false prophets in the world, leading people astray with the doctrine of demons. We’ve spent enough time arguing about what kind of car a minister should be able to afford while the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on doors.

So how do we know the difference between a bad teaching and a false teacher? What are our rules of engagement in this war? How do we know when to speak up and when to ignore?

Unsurprisingly, Jesus is not surprised by the battle we face. (I believe it breaks His heart, but he is not caught off-guard.) Jesus provided some really important values in the Bible for this day.

For the next several weeks, we’re going to discuss The Parable of the Weeds. Jesus told this story in Matthew 13:24-30:

The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.

And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?”

He said to them, “An enemy has done this.”

So the servants said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?”

But he said, “No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow until harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

(For further reading, Jesus explains the parable in Matthew 13:37-43.)

While the parable might have an obvious interpretation for this topic, I want to start somewhere you might not expect. This week I want to focus on the servant’s response in verse 12.

When the weeds sprouted, the servants first asked the master, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?”

What are they asking? They’re saying, “Are you sure this was good seed? What we see tells us that we planted seed full of weeds.”

Isn’t this a reasonable response? Is there any chance that we got bad seed?

When we see and feel conflict in the world, especially conflict with brothers and sisters in the Church, that’s a good question. It’s responsible to look first to ourselves and ask—is there any chance that I got bad seed? Am I the problem?

Before you pick a fight with anybody, ever, always ask—is there any chance that I misunderstood?

But this is important: we look to the Bible for the answer.

Have you heard of “deconstructing”? Lots of people are deconstructing these days. In my opinion, deconstructing is great. I’ve deconstructed a time or two.

Deconstructing means that we re-examine the elements of our faith. We pull the pieces apart to see what’s true and what’s baggage.

Do that. Repeatedly. But only if the Bible is the source of your answers.

We should constantly be asking, “Why do I believe this or that? Is this idea consistent with the Bible, or is it an idea or expectation I picked up someplace else?” Violently remove the things that don’t pass the test.

But that’s not what most people do, at least not the ones that label themselves as “deconstructing.”

Usually they mean that they’re picking apart their religious beliefs and filtering those ideas through their own human reason. They compare their ideas not to the Bible, but to their feelings, their own wounds, and pop-science.

In other words, they give the enemy the loudest voice. After all, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Double-checking your answers is good. As long as you’re checking them against the right key.

So may I encourage you? If the Bible is your source, you are good seed.

I’m fairly certain that none of us have perfect theology (myself very much included). We will get to heaven and find that we were wrong about many things. But the fundamental truths of the gospel, as recorded in the Bible and held by the church for thousands of years, are good seed.

As Paul warned the Galatians, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) If you’re not sure if Paul really means it, he repeats it again, word for word, in the next verse.

Before you get to the battle, you need to know that you’re fighting for the right side.

If the Bible is your source, you are on the right side.

If you are explaining away what the Bible says and making excuses for the Word of God, you are on the wrong side.

Are you good seed? Know that answer before you arrive to the battle line.

I’m really glad that the servants asked the master, and didn’t take their own experience as the highest source. When what they saw didn’t match what they knew, they went back to the source.

When we look out at the media and see weeds mixed in with the wheat, you may ask God, “Am I good seed?”

If we are to be effective warriors in this battle, the answer must be “yes” before we consider anything else.

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