Joe and Mike had jobs at a cotton mill. One morning, the foreman came along and found Joe reading a letter to his co-worker. “Hey!” cried the foreman. “What are you two guys up to?”
“Mike got a letter from his girlfriend,” explained Joe, “but he can’t read, so I’m readin’ the letter for him.”
“How come you got the cotton in your ears?” asked the foreman.
Joe replied, “I got this cotton in my ears ‘cause Mike doesn’t want me to hear what his girlfriend wrote him!”
Sometimes, we feel that we can put ourselves in the midst of people and situations that encourage sinful living because we believe they will not affect us. Or, we think we are strong enough to withstand any temptation they might send our way. Those big, red marks on our foreheads are called “bullseyes,” and Satan, the great deceiver, just shot one of his flaming darts and hit us directly in the center! The devil wants us to feel like we can stand up to anything he throws at us, because he hopes, eventually, we will trip and fall.
Bad influences are things we tend to take lightly, but we should take them very seriously. 1 Timothy 6:11 reads, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” First, concerning sin and evil pursuits, it teaches us to “flee from these things.” The word “flee” in this passage does not mean to associate, fellowship, walk away slowly, etc. It means for us to get away from sin and its influences as fast as we possibly can. Second, the verse teaches us to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” These are the things with which we must try hard to surround ourselves. Embracing these kinds of relationships will yield lives that are pleasing and acceptable to God.
Remember what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33 about the types of relationships we have: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’“ Do not forget who you are, and where you are. Surround yourself with righteousness and flee from evil, so that in the end, you do not get caught off guard by one of Satan’s greatest deceptions that causes you to find yourself lost eternally.
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