"…I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." (Rom. 16:19b)
Today, more than at any other time in history, we travel an information highway, and without a great deal of effort, we can become versed on a wide range of subjects, good and bad. Both are addressed in this verse in Romans, and to neglect either one is to leave us lop-sided spiritually.
There are many things in life that God would have us know little or nothing about. I hear it said (especially in classroom settings) concerning questionable, or even indecent, literature, films, etc., "It's just being true to life." As though that made it acceptable. "Whose life?" I want to say. One cannot know everything about life, so why would I want be conversant in aberrant behavior? Paul said he hoped these Christians at Rome would be considered simple, unaware, naïve, if you will, when it came to evil. As far as God is concerned, the term "worldly-wise" is an oxymoron. People with a working knowledge of wickedness could never be considered wise.
But while we as Christians hear much about the negative half of the verse, I think we sometimes allow the positive to slide. I have no doubt this leaves us handicapped in our quest for goodness. A good way to curb our mental capacity for evil is to dedicate more of our intellectual abilities to the search for “that which is good." If we spend all our time isolating ourselves from evil (which is commendable), but neglect opportunities of being exposed to Biblical wisdom, and the good things of life He has given us to enjoy, we leave a vacuum that curiosity will rush to fill some other way, and not usually a good way (Matt. 12:45).
There are so many beautiful stories in literature, a wealth of interesting information about God's creation, and volumes of Biblical philosophy so well expressed that none of us can claim inaccessibility. Immerse yourself in the Bible; go to a museum; read a classic. Become wise to good things—lovely things—and there will be less room left in your thoughts for evil things.
Here’s a worthy goal: Become “spiritually-wise and worldly-simple.” That’s what I call perfect balance!