HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE INFLUENCES…

DEUTERONOMY 13:6-9: “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.” NKJV
‭‭
OBSERVATION: Has anyone ever tried to challenge your faith? Have you been tempted by others to go down a path you know is wrong? Are there people in your life that are continually negative, challenging the things you believe?

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVE INFLUENCES?

These verses from Deuteronomy seem extremely harsh when we read them from a New Testament perspective. Surely, we are not called to take the life of people who are negative influences in our life. Jesus came to seek and save the lost and has given us the same calling. We cannot be like James and John who suggested that Jesus call fire down from heaven to destroy those who would not receive Jesus’ teachings.

HOW DO WE RECONCILE THESE VERSES IN LIGHT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT?

The call to capital punishment for the offense of leading someone to become an apostate by following other gods was given to the nation of Israel to protect its purity and devotion to the Lord. The Old Testament saints did not have the gift of the indwelling Spirit in their lives. If left to themselves they always strayed away from the Lord and right into the path of destruction. These drastic measures were to keep them under the blessings and care of the Lord.

So is there any application for us today? Are these just relegated to instructions that are now irrelevant to those who are under the New Covenant? Or, are there some important truths that we can still glean today? Let’s look at these verses again and break them out into practical applications.

  • “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him…”

The reality is that when we choose to follow Jesus there will always be those who will line up to dissuade us from this call. They will be members of our own family or even our closest friends. We may be called “holier than thou,” “Jesus freaks,” or branded as closed-minded and ignorant. Peter gives us some insight into this in his epistle.

  • “In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” I Peter‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NKJV‬

When I committed my life to Christ I was faced with this dilemma. Suddenly, my family was questioning my newfound faith. My friends were making fun of me for being a “church boy.” They could not understand why I had changed and they continued to entice me to join them in my former lifestyle. My response was to witness to them and share Jesus with them. As I did this I was faced with a decision when most of them just laughed and rejected what I was saying.

I COULD HOLD ONTO THE FRIENDSHIPS THAT WOULD LEAD ME AWAY FROM THE LORD OR I COULD WALK AWAY FROM THEM!

I had to make a tough decision. I had to walk away from these friendships. Please understand this in the way it is intended. I had to put these old ties to death. It was not a physical death. It was a spiritual and emotional one. I was always there for them if they wanted to know about Jesus or needed help. However, I could no longer have fellowship with them in works of darkness.

Today we are bombarded with media that tries to convince us that good is evil and evil is good. They do this by pulling the heartstrings of our emotions through dramatic scenes and twisted plots. Even as believers if we buy into this we are tempted to begin to lower our guard and start to feel sorry for those who would lead us away from the Lord. The instructions from Deuteronomy speak clearly once again!

  • “…nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him…”

We cannot change God’s Word to accommodate our family, neighbor, or our friend. We cannot simply pretend that they are not headed toward the cliff because we don’t want to offend them. And, we cannot deceive ourselves that we are strong enough to hang around these people and not be affected in our walk of faith.

We become who we associate with. If we walk with Jesus we become like Jesus. If we walk with people of faith our faith is strengthened and encouraged. However, if we walk with people who serve other gods (themselves, the world, money, success, sensuality, etc.), we will slowly lower our standards and become like them. Faith produces faith. Negativity produces negativity. Life produces life. And death produces death.

WE MUST BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY FROM RELATIONSHIPS THAT LEAD US AWAY FROM THE LORD!

Lord, I pray that you will give me a discerning heart to choose my friends carefully. I pray that I would be moved by love to share Jesus Christ with every person that I know and meet. However, help me choose the people that I invest my life in carefully. Give me the grace to walk always from relationships that are detrimental to my faith and lead me to those who will challenge me and help me to grow in Christ.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in Deuteronomy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE INFLUENCES…

  1. eldermike547yahoocom says:

    “I had to make a tough decision. I had to walk away from these friendships.”
    With this, I really didn’t have a problem, for I had changed so much (within such a short time), my “friends” started to stay away from me. I carried a Bible in my back pocket, and talked about Jesus all the time. I drove my “friends” away, not on purpose, but with the new love I had found, which they cared nothing about. Because of the love I had found in the Lord, any mocking from my friends, just rolled off me like water off a duck’s back. And since I had no desire to go drinking and do those kinds of various things anymore, I started hanging out with real Christians. Every old friend disappeared within a few weeks never to be seen again. And you know what, I didn’t miss them at all. I had a best new friend.
    Darkness and light cannot abide together. If you have light, it will drive away the darkness.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s