8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1).
We don’t have to try every fad, watch or listen to the latest buzz, or get embroiled in every discussion. There are some things that are not worth our time or energy; they will not benefit us. We should know what places, people and things to avoid, if we know what is good for us. What may seem harmless, with time, can become insidious and destructive. We have a conscience that warns us to tread carefully. Take your inner alert signals seriously. They are there for a reason. Even animals know when something foreboding is about to happen, and they take cover. Don’t ignore The Holy Spirit’s Conviction. God’s Word guides us to make the right decisions, based on His Wisdom. We are warned by His Word; and by obedience we can avoid sin, which leads us on the path to destruction.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the Law of The Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water—that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1).
The one who avoids the path of sinners, does not linger in the place where wickedness pervades. The one who delights in the Law of God ponders over it throughout the day, and dissociates from sinful indulgences done at night. Don’t be numbered with those who scoff at God’s Law. Blessed is the one who doesn’t seek ungodly counsel, but meditates on God’s Law. They will prosper in what they set out to do. Since they have made God’s Law their wisdom, counsel and delight, they will be fruitful and prosper in their endeavors. They are watchful, cautious and selective in what they engage in. When we delight in God’s Law, we will be discriminating about our associations. God has High Standards, and those who have an intimate relationship with Him should not settle for mediocrity. Not everyone, or everything is worth your valuable time.
33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians 15).”
If we spend too much time in a room that stinks, eventually we will get used to the stench. We become less bothered by the odor. Much like when we hang around people who are potty mouths or have repulsive habits, before we realize it, we will cozy up to them. We may even pick up some of their habits. Bad company will have an impact on one who is trying to live righteously. They will soon begin to compromise on their principles. Don’t sacrifice your values to win the approval of others. You are more likely to conform, than they are willing to accommodate you. Part company with those who will draw you away from God. Keep company with those who support and encourage you to live righteously: those who respect you for who you are.
22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth (2 Timothy 2).
Youthful lusts are desires that are driven by emotion, sinful passions and pressure from others. They are often short-lived pleasures that drown out the conscience, while shrugging off any consideration for consequences. Every follower of Christ must overcome sinful desires by pursuing righteousness, love and peace with God.
It is commendable to defend the faith in which we stand—we should not be ashamed of our identity in Christ. We can be apologetics for our convictions and the Truth of The Word of God; but we must avoid arguments that don’t benefit those who are listening. We have to discern people’s motives for their arguments. While we may want to answer critics or those who question our beliefs, we do not want to engage in disputes which may enrage us. In humility we can correct those in opposition, because we too were once doubtful before we were enlightened by The Holy Spirit. Steer clear of arguments and disputes that evoke anger and resentment. Not everyone will receive God’s Truth with an avid interest to learn, but merely to cast aspersions on our faith and Lord. Those who are eager to understand will not engage with malice, or anger; and those who will teach will do so gently, and effectively.
8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both The Father and The Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work (2 John).
Beginning well doesn’t always equate to finishing well. If we continue in the teachings of Christ, we continue to build our lives on the solid foundation of God’s Truth. But we must continue in it, to be fully rewarded at the end of our lives. Whoever fails to finish the race set out for them, will not receive the price. We must be wary of false doctrine and those who teach it. Whoever does not continue in the teachings of Christ doesn’t not have The True God. Christ is The Truth and Wisdom of God. He is the express Image and Likeness of God. Anyone who teaches to the contrary is a false teacher. Don’t ingest false doctrine by accommodating false teachers. Do not allow them to persuade you to question the Truth of The Living God.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus The Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the Fullness of The Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, Who is The Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2).
Abound in the faith and knowledge of Christ, so that you are not beguiled by frothy doctrine. Know God’s Word—The Bible, for yourself, so that you can sniff out a lie when you read or hear it. Stay built and rooted in Christ so that you don’t fall prey to those who are servants of darkness, sent to derail you. As dazzling as their teachings may seem, they are man-made concepts and principles meant to entertain and engage with a motivational-self-help flair, but devoid of God’s Wisdom, Truth, Righteousness, Justice, Mercy and Grace. They teach formulas of being the best you can be, based on human merits. You are already complete in Christ. In Christ dwells the Fullness of God; and He is in you, by His Spirit. You are not made whole by human endeavors, you are made whole by being forgiven of all your sins, and being conformed to His Image. Remain in the faith you first believed and don’t be swayed to follow any regimen to become accepted in The Beloved. You are accepted and complete, not because of your efforts, but because He, Who is the Fullness of God, abides in you.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of The Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of The Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the Will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17).
We belong to the Kingdom of God, though we live in this world, sojourning, until God calls us Home. If we love The Father, we will do His Will here, with eternity on our minds. The things of this world are temporary. They should not consume our thoughts and time. Money is good but the love of it can lead to greed. Our looks, clothing and possessions can make us obsessed, prideful or depressed, if we become discontent. Food and entertainment are essential, but an excess is detrimental to our health or leads to mismanagement of our time and resources.
God did not create us to have unfulfilled lives, but gave us all things to enjoy and glorify Him with. The lust of the things of this world are driven by greed, sinful passions and pride. If we love The Father, He will not have to compete with the things of this world. If we love The Father we will use our valuable time and resources to honor Him. We will be content with having enough, and also sharing with those in need. We will not use God’s Provision for sin. Avoid feeding fleshly desires that dishonor God. The one who abides forever, is the one who is consumed with God’s Will. The world and everything in it is passing away. We are all going to leave this world without a red cent. The lust of this world is not acceptable to God, The Father. Lust ensnares one who is easily won over by the ephemeral, and is willing to sacrifice their relationship with The Father.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to The Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5).
We live by The Life of The Spirit of Christ in us. Christ took upon Himself our sinful flesh and crucified it on The Cross. We died with Him and rose with Him, being made one in Him. The resurrected Life of Christ is now the new life we have. So, we must put off the old and walk in the new. We are now light, filled with The Spirit of Christ to do all that is good, righteous, and is done in truth. Because He is Light, we can not associate with darkness. The works of darkness will not benefit us, so we must be honest and expose them. Don’t make light of the sin you know of, expose it by repenting. Find out what is acceptable to The Lord and reject what is not.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13).
Children live for their present needs and desires. They lack self control and discipline. They live for the moment, and are driven by their emotions. They speak their minds with no regard for others’ feelings; they don’t mind their p’s and q’s. They are gullible to believe anything that sounds good, or excites them. As mature Christians, who have known The Lord, we should be more careful with our words, thoughts and actions. We are constrained to obey God, and can no longer just do what tickles our fancy, without thinking of the repercussions. We must thrust aside our self-will that is driven by selfish motives. We are children of God, but we must be mindful of how we behave before our Father.
As children of The Most High God, we have been chosen as representatives of the household of God in this world. We are not called to make associations with everyone, engage in any activity, or lust for the things of this world. We are completely catered for from The Kingdom of our Father. By obedience and heeding to the promptings of The Holy Spirit, we become more like our Lord Jesus Christ. We offer our lives to Him, for His Glory and not for the approval of others. We must sift out false doctrine from the Truth, so that the enemy of our souls doesn’t get us off track. We defend our faith, by boldly living out our identity in Christ. We should avoid disputes and arguments that will not benefit those who are still in the dark; but reach out to others with humility. If we live for God’s honor, we will keep ourselves from being defiled by the ways of the world.
18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him Who is true; and we are in Him Who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and Eternal Life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen (1 John 5).