“What a strange headline,” one might say here. Leaving aside the fact that I love rhymes, I put the heading that way in order to hint to the possibility that not all snares by the devil can be recognized immediately. The Prince of the Air works in an unseen realm and he is very crafty in manipulating our thought life, which cannot be seen, either. Just recently I read an interesting quote from a man who was finally freed from the bondage of a destructive Christian cult. I took that quote out of a longer testimony which Michael Clark had shared with me. After having left the cult, Tom Murray realized,
No one can consider themselves above the possibility of deception.
As soon as we think we have arrived at a certain point of no return in our walk with God, we can be sure that Satan will test our faith by offering us several temptations in order to draw us back into his realm of darkness where all kind of sin lurks at every corner. Today I want to point to the necessity of listening to God’s voice in all things, here particularly regarding the choice of our relationships with other people, especially Christians. In order to bring my point home in advance, I do not refer here to ALL those people whom we meet incidentally time and again. We cannot and should not avoid living in this world. Even if some of these people treat us badly, we can be sure that God will eventually enable us to love them, though. However, loving our enemies does not mean that we share our hearts with them and give them the possibility to – ATTENTION (!!!) – draw us away from Christ. “Wait a moment, wait a moment…” one might argue, “what could be so dangerous about a simple talk with another person?!?” Well, it is true that we should open our hearts if we see someone suffer and try to help them with the gifts God has given us if He led us to do so. But how can you and I resist the devil if we have opened up our hearts toward people who are obviously controlled by the wrong spirits and believe living in sin (not stumbling into it) and being a Christian at the same time would be no problem at all? Take care, these “Christians” preach another gospel! Or how can we be friends with someone who is full of pride about knowing it all better than you and me and who, finally, wants to control us and our behavior by bringing us back under a law of sorts that springs from their own carnality? Hey, no matter whether they know it or not, some of these people simply try to replace God in our lives!! Have you ever experienced such a thing in your own life? I did – OUCHEE!!! 😮
Dear brothers and sisters, there is a big difference between rejecting someone and separating oneself from those people God has drawn our attention to. On the one hand we should avoid friendship with those people who are still carnal and belong to this world, that is quite clear. But on the other hand we must be very cautious, too, with what kind of Christians we get into closer contact. The apostle Paul admonished the Corinthians,
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:14-18 ESV)
Do we want to be sons and daughters of the Most High God who welcomes us in our real home in the heavenly places with Jesus? I do not know about you, but I do not love my life on this earth unless God is with me 24/7. Without Him, nothing else makes sense to me…
Below you can read an exposition from Matthew Henry about the above mentioned verses (and a few more) where he explains quite plainly what our call is all about.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
6:11-18 It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into such unions, against the express warnings of God’s word, they must expect much distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?
The following is one of my favorite Psalms which, right at the outset, clarifies what we should do and what we should avoid doing. It reads,
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Ps 1:1-6 ESV)
I have never had problems to speak with worldly people at all unless they tried to counsel me kind of forcefully with their worldly wisdom and ideas. I can listen to them and understand them, but I do not need their advice except when God speaks through them (which happens pretty rarely). It is crucial to know the difference between God’s voice and others since we are confronted with so many voices (heard or read) every day. May God help us to discern right from wrong and to listen to His gentle voice before making our own decisions. Amen.