We have heard about how one BAD apple rots the whole barrel. Think about how fast a Good apple in a barrel of rotten ones will soil. One leaving the truth and associating with the world will spoil just that fast.
Cat and mouse
The world would like us to associate with it. And to do so may be fun at times.
Much like a cat playing with a mouse (or some other creature). At first it can be sort of cute to watch. At first the cat would gently paw away at the mouse and then hold it down and then let it go.
As the mouse tries to get elsewhere, the cat would trap it again. The cat plays around with the mouse again. What seemed to be quite innocent at first is now getting serious.
The cat is no longer PLAYING. He’s getting rougher by the minute and finally he lashes out and pounces for the kill. Goodbye mouse.
At first the world may see like fun while playing with us, but Satan is the cat (a lion even) and when we chose to associate with the world because we want to have some fun, remember: “We become the mouse” And we know how that story ends.
Like going into a dark place. At first all is dark. But soon the eyes become accustomed to the surroundings. Not so dark now. That is how it is with the world, we become accustomed to our surroundings.
Why did Jesus associate with sinners?
Consider us as Christians and our “association” with people alienated from God by witnessing from door to door.
We can be compared to a jungle doctor. This doctor — Albert Schweitzer was a good example — doesn’t hesitate to help people even though they are full of disease. But he would never share in their unsanitary living habits.
The good doctor doesn’t want to get himself infected with their diseases. He uses his knowledge and shares with them how to live a clean life and improve their situation.
It’s the same with us. We don’t wallow in the bad habits of those to whom we minister. Rather we teach them how to live clean lives.
Surroundings affect temperature
If you take a can of soda out of the refrigerator, how does it feel? Cold. How did it get cold?
It was in the refrigerator surrounded by the cold air. And as a result it was the same as it’s surroundings.
If you leave it on the counter long enough what happens? It will turn warm. Again it will be affected by the air around it.
Once a spider built a beautiful web in an old house. He kept it
clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it. The minute he got a
“customer” he would clean up on him so the other flies would not get
Then one day this fairly intelligent fly came buzzing by the clean
spider web. Old man spider called out, “Come in and sit.” But the
fairly intelligent fly said, “No, sir. I don’t see other flies in your
house, and I am not going in alone!”
But presently he saw on the floor below a large crowd of flies
dancing around on a piece of brown paper. He was delighted! He was not
afraid if lots of flies were doing it. So he came in for a landing.
Just before he landed, a bee zoomed by, saying, “Don’t land there,
stupid! That’s flypaper!” But the fairly intelligent fly shouted back,
“Don’t be silly. Those flies are dancing. There’s a big crowd there.
Everybody’s doing it. That many flies can’t be wrong!”
King and chariot drivers
There was a king who was looking for a new chariot driver. He interviewed three drivers, and asked each of them the same question:
“How close can you come to the edge of the cliff at a full gallop and not fall over the edge?” (the cliff had a 500 ft drop-off)
The first driver said “Sire, I can get within 3 cubits of the edge without going over.”
The second said “Sire, I can come as close as 1 cubit and still not fall over the edge.”
The third said “Sire, I’m not crazy? I am going to stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as I can”.
The ruler used the third man as a driver.
The point of the illustration was to show that we should not see how close to the world as we can and not “fall over the edge” into the world, but to stay as far away from the world as we can.
Life is a Theater
Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives.
There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a DISTANCE.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize
your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere
Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention.
Which ones lift and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage and which ones discourage?
Which ones are on a path of uphill growth and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people do you feel better or worse?
Which ones always have drama or don’t really understand, know or appreciate you?
The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind,
love and truth around you…the easier it will become for you to decide
who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of
“If you cannot change the people around you, CHANGE the people around you.”
Remember that the people we share our time with will impact both our
lives and our income. And so we must be careful to choose the people we hang
out with, as well as the information with which we feed our minds. We
should not share our dreams with negative people. We should not let negative
people feed us negative thoughts. Life is too short! Life is precious. Don’t
waste one minute of your valuable time foolishly.
Peer pressure – avoid catching a cold
If you were concerned about “catching a cold”, what steps would you take to avoid such an event?
Obviously one of the things would be to avoid contact with others who are infected.
So, too, close association with the world will cause us to catch their “spiritual sickness”.
Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked.
She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”
Crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo. Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a minority of two or three. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas. — old proverb
When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.
The South Pole could be called the healthiest place on earth because there’s no pollution, no dust, and very few people. The air is as fresh and clean as it must have been everywhere before man began pouring industrial wastes into the atmosphere.
Furthermore, it’s one of few locations where man is not bombarded by germs. Not only is it too cold for them to be active, but there’s nothing for them to live on. And since winds start at the South Pole and move northward, they tend to keep away any contaminants from that region. Now you’d think people would be eager to live in such a germ-free environment but they’re not.
With temperatures that drop to 100 degrees below zero, it’s just too
In a similar manner, we are forced to live in this old world with contaminants.
There was a farmer who raised sheep and had trouble with wolves stealing his sheep. He loved his sheep and didn’t want to lose even one of them.
One day the wolves came and the farmer quickly raised his rifle and POW! – killed every wolf he shot at. As he turned his rifle toward a shadow he saw a wolf puppy huddling besides a fence post shivering.
The farmer felt sorry for him, picked him up, tucked him inside his coat and took him home.
As time passed, the farmer grew to love the wolf puppy and took him Everyday to help him tend his sheep. The sheep loved the wolf puppy too and thought of him as one of them. The wolf puppy learned to call the sheep by their names, just like the farmer did. It wasn’t long before he grew to full size and the farmer trusted him to care for his sheep while he rode to town to buy supplies.
Then one day the wolf puppy was running in the farmer’s field and heard howling in the woods. He ran to the edge of the fence and watched as a pack of wolves approached. They seemed happy to see him although he didn’t recognize them. One by one they told him of all the fun they were having, running anywhere they wanted, doing whatever they pleased … no one telling them what to do! They invited him to come on the other side Of the fence with them. The wolf puppy thought about the fence, and how he’d never been on the other side of it. The more he listened he began to wonder if he was missing out on something.
It only took another minute and he dug under the fence and left with the pack.
For three seasons he lived with the wolves. They had plenty to eat and did whatever they wanted. It was such fun and he was glad for the choice he made. But winter came and everyone became hungry and restless. It was cold, so cold, where they had to sleep. The wolf puppy began to think about the farmer and how he’d never slept cold and never felt hunger. Soon he heard the leader of the pack announce it was time to steal some of the farmer’s sheep, so they could survive the winter.
The wolf puppy loudly exclaimed, “NO, they are my friends, don’t hurt them”.
But the leader said, “You’re one of us now, do as you’re told!”
They all began to run fast toward the farmer’s property. The wolf puppy reluctantly followed. Soon they arrived and began to dig under the farmer’s’ fence. The farmer heard his sheep cry out so he grabbed his rifle and ran to shoot at the wolves. BANG! He killed one after another and soon was face to face with a wolf backed up against the fence post who cried out, “Wait, don’t shoot me. I’m the puppy you raised. I’m your friend. Don’t you remember me?”
But the farmer looked at the wolf and saw how matted his coat was and how he smelled like the rest of the pack. He said to the wolf, “I don’t know you.”
He raised his rifle and shot…BANG!!!
The wolf was dead!