Sunday morning bro. Bruce preached this message:
17. I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Keep away from them. Avoid them. Don’t go near them. That kind of stings, doesn’t it? What if those people are our spouses? Our best friends? Our co-workers? Or sisters? Or cousins? Or any other family member? It hurts. So how do we deal with them? How do we co-exist with people who don’t serve our Lord? We must prepare ourselves and stand guard for our hearts and minds against these that we’ve noted in our hearts to be hurtful to our Christian life. Paul URGES us. It’s urgent that we do this. He doesn’t just say “Oh, be careful if you think about it.” He URGES us to separate ourselves from them. Stay away![P.S. I don’t take this to mean we should completely separate ourselves from these. Yes, we should surround ourselves with those of like-mind but we should also love on the lost and hurting. Love our enemies. The ones who hurt us. The ones who talk about us behind our backs and break our hearts. The ones who lie to us and shield our eyes from the truth. The ones who annoy us and frustrate us (even in the church!). We should love them.
Believe me, I’m preachin’ to myself here. There are plenty of people I could count off that I’d rather not spend my time with. But they are apart of the same body of Christ that I’m apart of. Makes it a lil’ tougher, doesn’t it?]
Ever seen/heard this demonstration?
Take two people and a chair. One stands in the chair the other on the ground. The one in the chair represents a Christian, the other a non-Christian. The two together represent a relationship. The one in the chair tries his/her hardest to pull the other up, but fails. The one on the ground easily yanks the other down.
Moral of the story, it’s easier to fall than to pull your partner in that relationship onto that chair with you. Be conscious of them and know your limits.
I’m positive I knew this in my younger days. If I’d have been more aware of it I may not have dated some of the boys (yes, boys. Not men) I dated. I grew up in church. I made friends in church. All of the guys I dated attended my home church on a regular basis. (Well, as long as we were dating they did.) Most of them, with the exception of two, were bad for my health. Mentally and physically. I didn’t avoid them. I wasn’t constantly aware of them to stay away and watch out for them. Plenty of people URGED me to walk away. But I couldn’t. Not that I didn’t want to, because I did, I just couldn’t. Now, I look down at my left hand and know that the one I’m going to marry will never be bad for my health. I’ll never be urged to walk away from him nor him from me.
But Paul promises this; those who persecute you and put those obstacles in your way WILL be crushed under your feet. Hallelujah!
I know this post might seem a little scattered, but I had a lot I wanted to say. Hopefully it all made sense. 🙂