Seeking Acceptance

Part 1

 

Did you ever become so used to something that you didnít notice it any more? When I first got married, we lived right next to a train track. At first, it was really annoying, but as time went by, it became part of the background noise I did not really pay any attention to it.

 

Seeking the approval of others is just like this because we constantly do it without thinking about it and we do not realize how often we are doing it. It is very natural for us to do because everyone wants to feel like they fit in and have the approval of others. I just watched an Amish movie where a young lady got shunned. While she was allowed to live in the community not even her parents were allowed to talk to her. She also had to eat at a separate table. You can see how powerful this can be because it will cause the shunned person to feel left out and give her a strong motivation to repent of whatever she did so she can have the approval of the community.

 

Of course their principle comes from Scripture and we are taught to do a similar thing to a Christian who is living in sin and will not change their ways. For example, we see the following truth taught by Scripture:

 

Matthew 18:15 " Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

 

Jesus is specifically describing when one person sins against another and how it is to be done. As you see, it ends with the un-repented person being cut off from the church because that person is consider to be a willful sinner who will not change his ways.

 

Letís look at few more verses that show this same idea:

 

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

 

1 Corinthians 5: 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person.

 

Paul also teaches us the purpose of such a separation from a sinner:

 

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

 

The whole purpose of doing this is to make them be ashamed of what they are doing. It is designed to make them wake up and realize that the Christians they have been fellowshipping with for years recognize what they are doing is wrong in according with Scripture. It is designed to be an act of tough love, which is why it says admonish him as a brother. Paul did this:

 

1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

 

Hymenaeus and Alexander where teaching a false doctrine that the final resurrection had already happened, which caused some to lose their faith. So, Paul handed the over to Satan, which implies that he separated himself from them along with the church. This was designed to make them ashamed so that they could learn not to blaspheme. The reason this sends such a powerful message goes back to the basic idea of how people have a strong desire to seek the approval of others.

 

This desire to seek the approval of others can be seen in many areas in our life. For example, Younger children seek their approval of their parents, but later on sometimes parents seek the approval of the teenagers. Teenagers are strongly driven to be accepted by their peers. Some students have strong desire to please their teachers. Athletes will push themselves and endure much pain in order to please their coach. Employees will work hard to seek the approval of their boss. We might maintain our yard and keep things tidy to seek the approval of neighbors. We do things we might not normally do to make our friend or spouse happy. The list could go on and on.

 

The natural desire to seek the approval of others can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing because it can cause people to make bad decisions in their life. When you start seeking the approval of those who are living a sinful life it can destroy and lead you down the road that will cause you to harm others and land you in jail or in the grave. This is why Paul says:

 

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

 

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

 

People do not tend to get in trouble alone. Most of the time it happens because of their desire to fit it with others. Even a dog that is normally gentle and would not kill another animal will change his behavior if he starts running with a pack of dogs. If those dogs decided to attack and kill a sheep, he will join in because that is how it works.

 

People are no different. They may be the kindest person you know, but if they join a group of people that are doing bad things the will change their ways to fit in with the group. All it takes is for one person in a group to suggest doing something like throwing rocks at windows to break them out and everyone else will jump in on the idea and before you know, everyone in the group is chunking rocks at the windows even though they would never do that on their own.

 

Even the most grounded people can be influenced by a group of people and do things they know that should not do. Consider the apostle Peter. Here is a man that was very close to Jesus but found himself influenced twice by those that were around him.

 

The first time was shortly before Jesus was arrested, where he swore that he would not deny Jesus even if meant death for him, but Jesus knew better and told him that he would deny Him 3 times. I think we all know what happened, but lets read it:

 

Matthew 26:69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."72 But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed.75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.

 

Now this situation is a little bit different, yet it has the same results. Peter did not belong to these people that were there, but when he was asked if he was with Christ, he denied it. Certainly, part of his motivation was to save himself, but in order to do this he had to fit in with the other Jews that were there. In order to be like them, which is seeking their approval, He had to deny that he had anything to do with Jesus. He gave into the pack instead of standing on what he told Jesus earlier. When that rooster crowed, it reminded him of what Jesus said and then he felt horrible about what he did.

 

Same thing happens to people when they get involved with the pack and do things they know they should not. Later, they start thinking about what they did and they become very disappointed in themselves.

 

As we think about what Peter did and everything that was going at the time, we might think well, he and all the apostles scattered and I can see why he did this. Though that does not make it right, this is not the only time Peter allowed the pack to influence him in a negative way.

 

In this second situation, Peter had been given the Holy Spirit. He had worked many miracles and talked boldly to the opposing Jews. He was confident and grounded in the way of the Lord. Though he was willing to face death, we find something that was more powerful than that, which caused him to sin.

 

Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

 

Peter grew up being prejudice against the Gentiles. That is what he knew all his life. However, he learned that the Gentiles were his equal because Godís plan of salvation was for all. Peter was the first man sent to the Gentiles and he was there when the first Gentiles were baptized into Christ in Acts 10. God made it clear to him that Gentiles were not be avoided.

 

Though Peter knew this, he allowed his fellow Jews and his old way of thinking to cloud his judgment. In order to seek the approval of his fellow Jews, he was separating himself from the Gentiles. This did not just affect Peter, it even affected Barnabas as well. This is how powerful the desire to seek the approval of others can be. It can cause the most faithful Christians to do the wrong thing and sin even when they know better.

 

This is serious problem that we have to watch out for. I am sure everyone in here can remember a time in your life when you went with the crowd of a few people even though you knew what you were doing was not right. We have to understand that people use the power of groups to get bad things done. One of the greatest examples of this comes from the time when Jesus was in the hands of Pilate.

 

Matthew 27:15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.21 The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!"22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!"23 Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!"

Jesus was innocent, yet all it took was some of these elders and chief priest to plant the idea in the heads of the crowd that Jesus needed to be put to death and before you know it, all of them were all screaming the same thing. Crucify Him! Crucify Him! At the time, many of them joined in not really knowing why. They were simply following the crowd because their influence was overpowering.

 

It is amazing how mobs can be formed and many of the people that join in have no idea why. This it what happened in Ephesus when the workers did not like the message of the Christians because they thought it would take away from them business of making false gods to sell. So they stirred the city up, but the people were confused and many of them had no idea what they were shouting about:

 

Acts 19:29 So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions.30 And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.31 Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater.32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

 

It is amazing how some can be so zealous to join a raging mob without evening knowing what they are being zealous about. This clearly shows how people have tendency to go with the flow even when they do not even understand what the flow is about.

 

As I said earlier, people have a tendency to see how insane they were being when the get a chance to think about what they did. Sometime it has to be pointed out to them. As we take our minds back to the mob that said Crucify Jesus, Peter and the other apostles had the chance to open their minds to what foolish evil thing they had done in Acts 2.

 

Acts 2:22 " Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know --23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;24 "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.25 "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.'29  "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

 

Notice their response:

 

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

 

Their eyes were opened to what they had done and they realized they had done wrong because they were caught up in the moment. We have to be on constant guard to make sure we are not being sucked into doing the wrong thing just because everyone else around us is doing it. When we allow ourselves to get used to seeking the acceptance of others, it is easy for us to get mislead to doing the wrong thing.

 

So far you have only heard half a sermon. All I have established so far is that people naturally seek of the approval of others. This desire can be used for good and for evil. We have mainly focused on how it can be used for evil and how we need to be aware of this desire to seek acceptance so that we can keep our wits about us and not allow ourselves to get caught up with the pack.

 

I have much more to say on this topic, but you will have to come back tonight to hear the second half of the sermon. I hope that you will because I personally believe this is an important lesson that we all need to hear and think because it is so easy for us to allow the desire to seek the acceptance of others to influence us to do the wrong things. I will be giving you some ways that will help prevent you from taking the wrong path by following the crowd. So, I hope to see you back here tonight.

 

Invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Acceptance

Part 2

 

This morning we began looking at how people have a natural desire to fit in and how they will seek acceptance from others. This is a very powerful desire that can be used to help people stay on the righteous path, but is also a powerful desire that can cause the most faithful Christian to do the wrong thing all for the sake of fitting in. We looked at several examples from the Bible such as Peter and how denied Jesus three time and he played the hypocrite by not eating with the Gentiles to have the approval of his fellow Jews. We talked about the chief priest and elders influenced a crowd to have Jesus crucified.

 

Tonight, I want to pick up where I left off and talk about how we can be guilty of allowing this desire of approval to move us away from God. Itís interesting that when young children are growing up they will seek the approval of the parents. However, sometimes when those children become teenagers this role will reverse. Teenagers have a tendency to want to do things their way, which is usually influenced by their friends.

 

Well, some parents are so desperate to have the same bond they had with their children when they were younger that they will do whatever they can make them happy. When this happen, they will throw their responsibility of being a Christian parent to the side and will comprise everything for their child. I have seen this happen. I have seen Christian parents who have started out strong in the faith. They talked the talk and walked the walk, but when their kid got older and started liking things that their parents would have never approved of, something happens. The parents slowly but surely change their minds and convince themselves that what their little girl or boy is doing is not all that bad. Before you know it, the parents may even start doing it as well.

 

We have to watch out for this. Yes, I know it is much easier to just to embrace whatever whim your teenager may come up with, but the easy way is usually not the right way. We must not compromise Godís truth no matter how much friction it causes a the time. If we start seeking the approval of our teenagers instead of the seeking the approval of God, we are not doing ourselves or our children any favors. Instead, we are doing great harm.

 

As Christians, we must not turn the keys of our life over to anyone except God. When we seek the approval of any person, it can become dangerous to our soul.

.

Radio commentator, Dave Ramsey says, ďWe buy things with money we donít have

to please people we donít really like

 

Many times, when we seek the acceptance of others, we are turning control of our life over to someone else and we should not do that because others can lead us astray because others are not consistently good. Though we all have to watch out for putting others above God, teenagers, especially those that attend public school, have to deal with this kind of negative influence all the time.

 

 

If they go against the flow, many times their peers will attack them and despise them and this can very hurtful and hard to handle especially since they are so young. If they do not have parents who there to help encourage them to stand for God and the right way. anyway it will be easy for them to conform to whatever is popular at the time.

 

Many alcoholics and drug abuser had their start in high school because they bought into the idea that if your not doing it then you are lame. There is always the push of being sexually active and if you are not then you are labeled as being something bad. There have been many early pregnancies all in the name of fitting in and doing what people think is the norm.

 

I am sure most of us have known at least one person who did not seem to fit in very well. Since they were a little different people started picking on them. It always starts with one or two people and then others see it happening and join in because they want to be like everyone else.

 

As Christian parents, we must diligently teach our children to do the right thing and not follow the crowd just for the sake to fit in. If we do not, our children will most likely do whatever they need to do to fit in.

 

We must also teach our children and remind ourselves that on the judgment day we cannot blame someone else for what we did because God will not except our excuses because we must all give an account for what we did and the choices we made (2 Cor. 5:10). Adam tried to blame eve for what he did, but God did not buy into the excuse and both were kicked out of the garden. So, donít even try and make excuses for yourself on the Day of Judgment.

 

Let us never forget that it is easy to be ensnared by the one you want to impress.

 

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

 

A snare will trap you when you least expect it, but it can only trap you if you do not see it, which is why it is so important that we realize that pleasing men can trap us. As Christian, we must never allow ourselves to be pressured into seeking the approval of anyone other than God. This is easily said, but harder to do because, as I have been saying all along it is natural for us to seek the approval of others.

 

So, you cannot expect this way of thinking to change overnight. No one is born mature and no Christian starts out as a mature one. We must all grow. Part of the process of Christianity is to become wiser and learn to become more and more like Christ.

 

1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

 

Paul said:

Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.20 But you have not so learned Christ,21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Our goal is to always to put God first and seek His approval not manís. In fact, Paul says:

 

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

 

If we try and seek the approval of man so that they will be pleased with us, Paul says to do that would mean you are not a bondservant of Christ. Man always has a way, but unless it is exactly what God has told us to do, we must not conform to it. So, there is not confusion, I am not talking about harmless traditions or customs. There is certainly nothing wrong with celebrating the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. There is nothing wrong with having a traditional marriage or eating a certain way. None of these kind of things will go against what Godís Word teaches.

 

When I say manís way, I am talking about teachings and things they do that are contrary to Godís way. In the O.T., there was some that began sacrificing their children to a false god and there a many today who say it is ok to kill an unborn child because it was accident or is not wanted. Though man may say ďyes this is acceptable,Ē God says it is not and that it is murder. So, to follow man in such a way would be wrong and can lead to hell, which is why we must always choose Godís way and seek His approval.

 

Where you live can influence your behavior. The more time that goes on the more corrupt our nations is becoming. More and more generations are rising up that do not know the Lord or care to know the Lord. History is indeed repeating itself. Every year the number of people who see nothing wrong with same sex marriages is increasing and before I die we may see this as an approved practice in our nation.

 

Sodom and Gomorrah most likely did not start out being a corrupt place. They probably started out slowly and then finally got overran by wicked people. Then wickedness became the norm. We all know what happened to them. They serve as a another example of what seeking the approval of others can cause.

 

As Christians, we must never lose sight of doing the right thing no matter how much our society pressures us to do the wrong thing. This takes courage, and we have many examples of faithful men and women who were willing to commit themselves to the cause of the Lord no matter what the cost and we must do the same because God and His way is worth it. Only His will will lead us to eternal life in heaven.

 

One thing is certain, we cannot take ourselves out of this world, but we can control who we surround ourselves with. It is important that we make a decision on what kind of people we will allow to be an integral part of our life.

 

First off, we must consider who this person is and what kind of influence they are giving. Most of us have probably met someone that caused us to really work hard to please them because something about them is different. If you experienced this, you know exactly what I am talking about. Well, these kinds of people can either be very helpful or harmful to our lives as Christians. If they are faithful to God then they will be a great influence in your life, but if they are a rebellious person. they can influence away from God. It is for this reason that we must choose wisely those that we hang around. If they are not Christ-like, we need to distance ourselves from them.

 

In saying this, I am not saying that we should not try and influence them toward God, but we need to be very careful of who we are trying to please. If a person is not helping us grow closer to God and they continue to ask us to get involved in questionable things, then we have to make the decision to keep them at a distance so they do not drag us down the wrong path with them. We need to ask ourselves, in the long run is it more important to please this person or to please God?

 

Living the Christian life is not always easy because there we be times that we have to move on from friends that hinder us from growing in the way of Christ. Maintaining a relationship with God takes courage and sacrifice to put Him first. Our first goal in life is to set up a strong foundation in our life by choosing wisely what we do and who we share our lives with.

 

God loves us and wants to be the one who influences us the most. He has already proven Himself over and over of how much He wants us to be part of His family. He even allowed His Son to die for us on the cross. It is only natural for us to love Him back because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). Our God is awesome God, who has made life and eternal life possible for us. There is no good reason why we should not allow our Creator to be the one that influences us the most. There is no good reason we should not seek His approval over anyone else.

 

When we do seek the approval of Lord instead of the approval of man it can and will bring conflict. Jesus said:

 

Matthew 10:34 " Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.35 "For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';36 "and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.'37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.39 "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

 

Sometimes your greatest enemies are those who are closest to you. They will not like it when you put God before them. When someone close to you is selfish and wants all your attention, he can do more harm to you than anyone else. There are many areas this can fall in, but one that comes to mind is when a couple marries and one of them becomes a Christian, but the other is not interested.

 

This takes a great toll on the Christian because he or she will leave their mate at home and will attend services. That alone is difficult, but many fights will come from this because typically the nonChristian will want to go do something with his mate when it time for church service and then the battle begins. Sometimes, a nonChristian mate will do this just to try and get his Christian mate to stay home with him. When that mate chooses God, the nonChristian receives the message loud and clear that God is more important that he is. So, the battle will continue on. This is just one example of what Christians can face when they put God first, but no matter what it is, we must learn to always put God first.

 

As Peter said:

 

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

 

No mater what form of persecution we face, we must never allow ourselves to conform to others desires that will cause us to compromise our commitment to God. As Peter said few verses up:

 

1 Peter 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

 

In context, Peter is talking about the wife and the husband, but the idea is that we must do that which is good and not be afraid to do that which is right.

 

The home is only one area that we have to watch out for because the world is ready to pressure us in to conformity as well, but we must be courageous and continue to test ourselves to make sure that we are not allowing the worldís influence to desensitize us to sin. We all have been desensitized to a degree, but we must continually remind ourselves that what we seeing in world today over and over again is sinful and is still as ugly as used be the first time we saw it.

 

Paul teaches us:

 

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified.

 

This really is the best way to make sure that you are not allowing yourself compromise Godís Word. Worldly influence will never stop, so we have to work hard at keeping it from ruining us. There is example after example in the Bible of how this can easily happen to an entire nation when they fall asleep at the wheel.

 

For example, think about the children of Israel and what the did in:

 

1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,5 and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."

 

God was their King, but that was not good enough for them because they wanted to be like everyone else and have human king. So, never underestimate the influence the world can have on you.

 

Godís Word warns us about the world:

 

James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

1 John 2:15 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.

 

We need to listen to verses like these closely and take them to heart because friendship with the world and fitting in with them is considered to be adultery because we are cheating on God when we indulge in worldly sin.

 

Look at it this way. Wives imagine if your husband spent 1 day a week with one of his ex-girlfriends or husband imagine if your wife spend 1 day a week with one her ex-boyfriends. How would that make you feel? Our God is a jealous God and He wants your total commitment. He does not want you to serve Him part of the time and the world part of the time, but if we are not careful we can find ourselves doing this very thing without even realizing it, which is why it so critical for us to test ourselves.

 

I know it can be challenging when we see people around who seem to be having a great time playing in the devilís sandbox, but we must choose what is more important in life. Living for the world and enjoying its temporary sinful pleasures or living for God knowing that eternity in heaven will be ours.

 

In order for to be able to stand strong, not only must we test ourselves, we must set goals for ourselves that will help us stay focused on our goal of getting to heaven.

 

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

 

Donít second guess your decision by looking backwards at what you left:

 

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

 

We can help ourselves be successful at remaining faithful by choosing wisely who spend our time with. If we spend our time with others who are committed to the Lord, then they will be a positive influence in our lives.

 

We would do well to immerse ourselves in things that are Christ-like. The more time we focus on Godly things, the easier it will be for us to seek the acceptance of God instead of man. Letís think on these things. I want to close with what Jesus said in:

 

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 "Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.32 " Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.34 ∂ " Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.35 "For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';36 "and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.'37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.39 "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.