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
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
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.
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
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
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
Matthew 26:69 Now Peter sat
outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You
also were with Jesus of
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
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
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
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
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
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
Notice their response:
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
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.
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
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.Ē
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of
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
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
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.