“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” That’s not just some cool quote or a random idea from Google. It’s a Biblical concept. You are surrounded by people, things, situations, and facilities that affect your thoughts and feelings. All these influences have the capacity to effect change in your character and behavior. Over time, the influences you allow in your life alter or shape your state of mind and direct you towards certain motivations and actions. That’s why it’s important to wisely deal with influences that hover in your life.
Refuse the mold.
Romans 12:2 reminds us not to “conform to the pattern [mold] of this world.” It doesn’t mean that we are to reject ideas and developments that better one’s life and personhood. It does mean that we are to “cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against God.” (2 Cor 10:5) We are to bring into submission “every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The world is progressively sinking into self-exaltation. There is a deepening obsession for self-gratification. Everywhere, we see campaigns that push for the freedom to determine and live by one’s own values and beliefs. Truth and Rightness are becoming more and more subjective. It’s true and right if it works for you. And if it works for you, then people must respect that right.
There are preferences and activities people may act and feel differently about and it’s okay. But there is no gray area when it comes to matters that our Sovereign God has put His foot down on. The child of God knows that these truths and principles are absolute and He has the Word of God and the Spirit of God to reveal and lead him into all these truths. The Christian must refuse to be molded into worldly beliefs and ways that break the heart of our Father.
Watch the company you keep.
Social research constantly proves that one’s environment affects a person’s behavior overtime. No matter how grounded a Christian we may be, 1 Cor. 15:33 warns us not to be misled. Bad company will corrupt good character. We need not cut ourselves off from the unbelieving for we need to reach out to the lost and share God’s message of love and salvation with them. But we must be careful not to expose ourselves to wrong influences for an extended period of time. The Book of Proverbs says that as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The book further says that if we walk with the wise, we become wise and a companion of fools leads to harm. We must watch the company we keep.
The phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” is considered to have originated as a Computer Science principle that believes incorrect or poor-quality input will always produce a faulty output. Taking point from this, the sensible Christian would understand the need to filter listening, reading, and viewing materials. The more sensible Christian will set standards to begin with and will avoid exposing himself to materials that can encourage wrong thinking in his life. Psalm 101 says, “I will set no vile thing before my eyes”.
There is danger in continually exposing yourselves to influences of questionable morals and thinking. Soon, tolerance and acceptance will replace uneasiness. Later, wrong thoughts begin and you may find yourself engaging in the very wrong acts you once questioned in the past.
Remember, influences have the power to suggest ideas and sentiments towards good or bad. In a world that’s forever confused over what is right and wrong, you need to be selective about who and what you allow to linger in your presence. Most importantly, you must look to God’s consistent and reliable truths for guidance and standards. With God’s Word as your moral compass, you’ll never go wrong.