What in the World Is Real?


How in the world do we decide what is real and what is not? Dr. Ed Young offers two guidelines for discerning God's truth.

When my oldest son Ed was about seven, and his brother Ben was about five, Jo Beth and I listened to their prayers each night...an experience I highly recommend to parents of small children. One night, Ben prayed first. He prayed for everyone—from aunts, uncles, and our dog, Barney, to Batman, Robin, the Joker and Mr. Freeze. When Ed’s turn came, he began to pray for various people and situations, but Ben couldn’t be still. Finally he opened one eye and punched his big brother: “Ed, don’t forget to pray for Batman—he needs it!” Ed stopped his prayer, and with all the worldly sophistication of a seven year old, said, “Ben, don’t you get it? Batman is not real.”

We live in a day where it has become increasingly difficult to discern between what is real and what is not. Wouldn’t it be great if we grownups could have the clarity and certainty that little Ed had back then? Then we could easily distinguish what is real and what is artificial; what is valid and what is useless; what is eternal and what is temporal? There are endless demands on our time, requests for our resources, suggestions for our priorities and competition for our devotion. How in the world do we decide what is real?

Let me offer two guidelines: First, we must hold everything up to the plumb line of scripture. What does God’s word have to say about my priorities? My resources? My time? Second, what does the Holy Spirit, who lives in me, direct me to do? Never ignore the Word of God or His still, small voice. He knows what is real, and He can see the unseen, eternal things better than you or I.


For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 CORINTHIANS 4:18)


Genesis 23-24; John 13

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