Yesterdays devotion was about what happens when friends do not want to be our friends. Today's devotion is more geared to what happens when we hang out with the wrong kind of people. This is especially important as parents of young children who pray for the right kind of friends as we know since one bad friend can change the course of a life. But it is important in all stages of life as the friends we choose can make us or break us. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch , the saying goes.
Now what about witnessing and winning the lost to Christ you may say? That indeed is crucial but we are not to hang out with people we know purposely are doing things against the law or the Bible. Guilt by association is another well known term I am sure we are all familiar with. But you still need to be kind to all types of people and show them God's love just do not get sucked down into their pit with them.
A companion of fools suffers ruin. (See Proverbs 13:20). Bad company corrupts morals.(See 1 Corinthians 15:33). Do not hang out with lazy gluttons and those who drink too much or you may learn their ways. Proverbs 23:21 says "For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags." We are not to hate these people but we have to be alert to the dangers of being influenced by their lifestyle. You can easily become like who you associate with. "But wait, Jesus hung out with sinners". Be a witness. Talk to the hurting, the prisoner, those who the world would not have anything to do with. They need the love of God. "We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."(Romans 3:23).
Romans 5:6-8 says "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Christ was not afraid of the sinner. He simply said "Go and sin no more." John 8:10-11 says "Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin."
A rule of thumb in selecting friends is to ask yourself, " Do my friends lead me closer to God or away from Him." Now this is not to say you can not befriend unchurched people but if you knowingly hang out with people doing things against the will of God is what I am referring too. If we do not hang out with unchurched friends then how will they ever know of the love of Jesus? Break out of your holy huddle but use caution in doing so. My prayer for my own children, who are now adults, is a simple one. In John 17:15 it says "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." We are in the world. We can not live in a bubble. Evil is out there. Be a light in the darkness around you.This friend thing is important in the adult world too as business people can get caught up in schemes to cheat and steal just to make more money so even at work be careful. Witness and be salt but stand up for the truth and for righteousness.
God is always with you and he knows what you are doing. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war." He sees your every move. As the children's song goes "Be careful little feet where you go." Hebrews 4:13 says "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account".
Be a friend to those who need a friend but do not go places or do things you know deep down inside God is not pleased with. Be his witness but be cautious in all you say and do. But do not despair because if your child has fallen in with the wrong crowd God is still there and can restore them. Joel 2:25 says ""I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm--my great army that I sent among you." Things may be bad but Sunday is coming! Another promise is Colossians 1:13 which says "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves". So the key is to watch who you hang out with and what you do but remember God also is the great restorer. Be the light that people want to run to then you won't have to worry so much about doing the wrong thing.
PRAYER: Father I know we are to be salt and light in the world. Today help me choose my activities wisely. Help me share your love for those in my world around me. Father I ask that you guide my steps so I do not wander into places that do not bring glory to God. Help my choices be pleasing unto you Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.
NOTE:I have selected an appropriate praise song for when you have time to sit with Coffee and worship the Lord. Have a blessed day!