We live in an unrighteous world–an evil world, and our Lord knows this is where we reside. “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.” (Rev. 2:12-13)

The Lord knows how difficult it is to be set apart–holy–in an unclean world. “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam…” (Rev. 2:14a) The teaching of Balaam was devious and meant to seduce the Lord’s people away from our Lord God, it is a false teaching. (If you are interested in learning more, read here from Got Questions.org.)

There are teachers out there in the world today attempting to lead you away from the truth. If you are hearing or reading teaching that makes you feel good (or maybe not so bad) about living in your sin, you are being led astray. The enemy suggests things that our selfish nature likes to hear: “Your sin wasn’t that bad.” “Compared to others, you’re okay.”

There are very few times when I am studying God’s Word that I don’t receive an “ouch”, because through His Word He will teach us, discipline us and show us the right way to go. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

We need His truth, not to have our ears tickled. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) 

We have a daily choice to be friends with “the world” and to accept and live beside all of its evil, or we can “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) The Lord won’t say to you at the end of your life, oh well, you did the best you could since you were in an evil world. “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev. 2:16) 

I encourage you to question all commentaries and devotions you read (mine, those from pastors, well-loved Bible study teachers…). Look up the Scriptures and read them for yourself. Ask the Lord to lead you to what He wants you to know from His Word. Trust in Him, and Him alone. Pray, Teach me your way, Lordthat I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11)