“I urge you, brothers and sisters, 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.”
Everyone has heard the phrase, “You are the company that you keep.” Turns out it can be true to an extent. Sure, Jesus hung out with a lot of questionable people . . . prostitutes, tax collectors, and other societal rejects, but when he did, he never joined in their sin, but pulled them out of it. We, on the other hand, are a lot more susceptible to falling in with the crowd we surround ourselves with.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t associate with sinners. That would mean you wouldn’t be allowed to have any friends. No one is perfect. It also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t minister to and share the Good News with non-believers. What it means is that you must be careful of those whom you call friends, whom you trust, and from whom you take advice. In addition, you have to be careful of the influence that others are having on you, regardless of whether they are a friend or not.
The truth is, you can’t minister to someone or share the gospel with them if they are pulling you into sin with them. In any kind of relationship between a believer and a non-believer, if the relationship continues long enough, one will be pulled toward the side of the other. If you’re being pulled into sin by any relationship, then the relationship is not worth keeping. Nothing is more important than your soul and your salvation. Don’t risk that by surrounding yourself with people that don’t care about your soul, that don’t believe in the God you serve, and who love their sin. Losing friends is hard, and sometimes we really don’t want to have to end a relationship. But at the end of the day, you must remember which relationship is more important, the earthly one, or the one you have with God. It will always be more important to take care of your relationship with God.
Have nothing to do with those who try to pull you into sin with them. Especially have nothing to do with those who are successful.
Help me be cautious of the company I keep. Help me not to fall into a crowd that will pull me away from you. Let me never value any relationship on this earth more than my relationship with you.
In Jesus’ Name,