Who Influences You?

Who Influences You?

We live in a wickedly sinful society—I really don’t know any other way of putting it. Open the newspaper, and you can read about how people’s lives have been completely consumed by hate and greed and racism. When you flip on the television and settle in for an evening of entertainment, you’ll likely have sexual immorality shoved down your throat. As June approaches, many of our friends on social media will change their profile pictures to show support for the homosexual community. What are we to do?

God had specific instructions for how the Israelites were to handle the people in the land of Canaan: They were to “save alive nothing that breathes” (Deut 20:16). Why would God require the destruction of every man, woman, and child in Canaan? Moses said it was so “that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God” (Deut 20:18). Yahweh wanted his people pure, and he knew that the inhabitants of Canaan would turn his people from holiness.

God no longer calls on us to destroy those who live in sin (in fact, enemies outside Canaan were permitted to live if they accepted terms of peace [Deut 20:10-15]); however, God’s call to holiness persists. “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16; cf. Lev 11:44). Because God calls us to holiness, we must keep ourselves from every entanglement in this wicked world.

  • “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor 15:33).
  • “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:14-15).

To achieve the holiness God requires, we must keep sin at arm’s length. We’ll be around sin; there is no way to keep from being exposed to wickedness (cf. 1 Cor 5:10). However, God requires his people to be holy, and we must do whatever it takes to achieve that holiness. We must never allow our friends or our family or media or this world to influence us for evil. We must shine as lights and influence the world. Who influences you?

This article was originally written by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., for the weekly newsletter at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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