Jim Rohn once said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This quote has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve been thinking about some people I know, and how I’ve seen them change as the have been transitioning into their next stages in life, and new friend groups. I’ve seen this happen a lot over the years. At some point you would think it would stop surprising me.
It seems even the most righteous and virtuous people aren’t immune to the subtle call of temptation. I guess that how Satan works. The people of the secular world are already far removed from God, so why not weaken church-militant? What greater blow is there to the body of Christ than to have its members torn away? The angels rejoice when a sinner repents. How must we make them cry when we turn away?
There were things I tolerated when I was younger and still of the world. Now, when I come across some of those things, they make me sick. Not in a literary way, but a literal one. It’s the strangest phenomena to me. I become physically ill when faced with things I once didn’t think twice about. Why, or what it means is still a mystery to me.
What worse is when I see brothers and sisters in Christ falling into the snares of evil. It always starts subtly. It’s not a big deal. No one cares. It doesn’t hurt anything… These are common themes I see. As I have learned, no one is immune.
One day a man of the cloth will preach the gospel and lead the lost to salvation. Then the next day, without warning a temptress will catch his eye. A once righteous man who stood tall in the faith will fall into the pit of selfishness; forsaking everything he worked so hard to build. And, for what? Having your beard stroked by a woman in another mans house is nothing compared to the woman who makes your house a home.
Also, far too often I’ve seen young women stray from the narrow path. With all the fun and excitement the world offers, many find it hard to resist. If all of your friends dress provocatively, why shouldn’t you also? After all, every wants to fit in. What’s the harm in showing a little skin? Right? That’s how it starts. They just want to dress in current fashion like everyone else. Besides, you just can’t find modest clothes these days. (I would point out that I have some Mennonite friends that would disagree with you.) And, if all of your friends are showing off at the beach, why would you want to stay covered? Everyone is doing it, why not you? Sure, you may not want show as many things as they do, but you can always find a work around. You don’t have to show your body, when you can wear thin enough clothes that reveal all of the intimate details of it. After all, you’re not really showing it… You friends may post pictures of themselves in their underwear caressing their breasts, but you wouldn’t do that. Besides, you can just wear a top that reveals the shape and peaks of yours, after all, you’re not doing anything wrong. And, it’s not you fault if people look. You can dress and act like everyone else and still be a good girl. You can say you believe in Jesus, but you don’t actually have to live according to His word… That’s what they would have you believe.
One day the seat where the virtuous girl sat is empty on Sunday morning. Then, a second day. And, a third. Before you know it, she’s just a memory. If she does make an appearance, she’s no longer an active member. She’s merely a tourist, stopping by to say hello before she fades away again. The view of the pastorate must be one of the saddest. How many shadows linger in the church of those whom have stepped from the light?
Too many people don’t see when the ones around them are changing them for the worse. It’s our duty to try and lift others out of the land of the dead to which the live and into the dwelling place of life eternal. Often times however, the people you call friends would rather tarnish your image than take on the painstaking task off polishing their own. There comes a time when you have to evaluate the people around you. Who are they? Where are they leading you? Do they serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or, do they serve the god that they have made themselves out to be? Are they children of the Most High, or are they friends with Satan?
“The one who is not with Me is against Me;
and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.”