Scripture: 1 Cor. 15: 31I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”[d] 33Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Observation: People who we spend time with, who we respect, we tend to imitate, without realizing it, the more we are around them, the more into their likeness we become.
Application: It is important for us to understand this concept, that the more we are around someone, the more they rub off on us. It’s not something that is intentional, it just happens. The more time you spend with a person who you are fond of, who you respect, the more like that person you become. You adopt their ideas, their mannerisms, even their vocabulary. So it’s important for us to be aware of the kind of people we invest ourselves in.
This is not to say we should avoid anyone who isn’t living up to our moral standards by any means. Jesus taught us to go to those who society would reject, and to love them and not to be afraid to be around them. However if you notice, Jesus didn’t linger with those people. He was there to teach, to love, to lead; He was not there to join in. I know that may seem like a fine line to walk but its not really. Jesus had no trouble sitting down to eat and drink with sinners, but when He did, he was there for a purpose of teaching and shedding light in the midst of that darkness that had them surrounded. He was there as a beacon to the outcast and lost. He was being an example of what He implored His disciples and the multitudes to be in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” It’s actually one of the biggest parts of our Christian mission to minister to the lost of the world, and you can’t do that unless you are around them. But that doesn’t mean that you bring an overnight bag, and pitch a tent in the yard.
Listen, – I’m not condoning judgment upon people, I’m not condoning elitism among the Church, but I am saying that we need to be aware that if we are hanging around people who are unbelievers and we are friends with them, and we are socializing on a regular basis, then we have to be extra careful to let our lights shine, and not be misled from our own faith. There have been people in my life who I have been very close to but I have had to walk away from regular relationships with in order to sustain my faith and continue on the right path. And I know that it isn’t easy to walk away from someone who we consider to be a friend. But if you can’t bring them with you, you can’t allow them to hold you back on the journey which God has set your feet upon.
Paul was warning the Christians of Corinth about those who didn’t believe in the resurrection, those who thought it to be mere foolishness, and he said that Bad company corrupts good character. And those were wise words for the Christians there, they were living in a society that was very diverse, there were people of many different faiths around them all the time, there were zealots, and philosophers, and pagans, and intellectuals at every corner. It was a society of people who would, if possible persuade them away from the notion that God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins and then raised Him again from the dead on the third day, thus conquering our spiritual death and setting us in a right standing relationship with God if we would only believe and put our faith and trust in Him.
Well my friends times have moved on but, as the old saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. We are living in a world today that is similar in these ways to the society of Corinth in the 1st century. So many ideas are out there, and many of them are much easier a path to follow than Christ on the cross, there are systems of faith that have no restraint, and no restrictions upon a persons conduct, and they are popular because they are the easy path. But those of us who know the truth, who’s eyes have been opened by God’s grace, understand that the easy path is not always the right path, and that God never promised us a life of comfort and unrestrained self-gratification. The way of the cross is often difficult, it is a way that will break you, it is a way that will cause you pain and heartache, but it is THE way that leads to heaven.
Prayer: Father God,
Help me Lord to do the things that I need to do in order to keep my heart attuned to Your will, and my feet focused on the path You have placed me upon. Let me not stumble by the wayside nor be led astray by my passions. Help me to drop what I need to drop, and to pick up what I need to pick up in order to serve you with my whole heart, body, soul, and mind. I thank you Father for your mercy, I thank You for your unending patience with me. Forgive me when I slip and put me back on the path that leads to the goal of heaven.
Yield: Some things are hard to let go of. Lord give me the strength to walk away from those things that keep my heart from focusing on you, even when those things are close friends and long term relationships.