Boundaries are important. The Bible speaks out in warning of any alignment with non-believers. We read of not making treaties with outsiders. We read about not aligning with those who are non-believers, because if we marry a non-believer it is likely that we will be drawn away. Deuteronomy 12 warns us not to fall into the trap. This trap causes us to be led astray to worshiping other gods.
The Bible tells us to be careful. We read these words often. We must be able to balance our time between people strong in the faith and people who do not know Jesus. We must surround ourselves with these strong, faithfully obedient men and woman for support, encouragement, and accountability. But we also must be able to reach the world by building relationships with those who have not received Christ.
As you go through your day today, remember that there is a trap waiting. Be mindful of the way you spend your time. Make sure you have strong Christians in your life, people who are walking in faithful obedience and who will point you to Jesus Christ, desiring for you to grow deeper with Christ. Also, make sure you are building a relationship with some non-believers. Through your actions, may they be able to see Christ.
“Do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’” – Deuteronomy 12:30 [NLT]
“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.” – Deuteronomy 18:9 [NLT]
Every day, twice a day, the dogs and I take a mile walk. The dogs love their daily adventures and I enjoy the fresh air and quiet time with God. Plus, we all need exercise. I am sure that onlookers enjoy the entertainment we provide on our travels. Often people will slow down and smile at us because it’s quite odd to see a Shih-tzu walking alongside an overweight Black Lab.
I’ve never realized that our morning and evening walks were being observed by so many people. A neighbor approached me and told me once that she enjoyed watching us pass by each morning. Last night, a lady said that I am faithful to my dogs, faithfully walking them each day, so much so that they likely are accustomed to the special treatment. I always knew that people that drove by might see us on our walks; however, I never realized that my neighbors had their eyes focused on us.
Whether you see people looking at you or not, people are watching. People see the choices you make, the things you do, the way you spend your time. People see – people are watching. Your friends and family should be able to see you faithfully walking with Jesus. If they are not noticing a difference in your life, then you may want to look at who is leading you. Are you allowing the Spirit to lead you, thereby walking faithfully, or are you following your own desires?
“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 [NLT]
Every year, there is the annual ant season. I get out the ant baits and liquid gel a friend recommended. In a few days, everything is back to normal. But before this happens, there is a time period when the ants come and take the bait. This morning, as I was checking to be sure things were flowing smoothly, my daughter asked me about how the ant bait works. I explained the process.
As I was explaining everything, I considered the plight of the ants. An ant grabs the stuff from the bait contraption and carries it back to his home. He shares this with his family and friends. Together, they fall. It’s a simple process that works each year during ant season. But it’s also a process that is played out with humans.
We, like the ants, can take the bad bait and carry it to our homes, which results in destruction. It is sad, but it happens often. We carry home our acts of sin. We carry home lies the devil has provided. We carry home false teaching. We carry home a lot of things that can cause problems. Today, take back your house. Consider what’s coming into your house. Is it right? Is it pure? Is it truth? Don’t allow the devil to get a foothold.
“Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.” – 3 John 1:11 [NLT]
There will always be some things that we are very good at and some things that are not very easy to undertake. We have weaknesses. Some of us are uncoordinated. Some of us do not do well speaking in front of crowds. Some of us are not good with math. We all have something we can consider as a weakness, something that isn’t our strong suit.
When Moses was commanded to go speak to Pharaoh and to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he was not so eager to go right away. He made excuse after excuse, and one of those excuses related to his problem with speech. Eventually his brother Aaron is mentioned to assist and off Moses went after a bit of dragging of the feet.
But what do we read in Acts? Luke wrote that Moses “was powerful in speech and action.” He wasn’t so weak after all. Why? When we are weak, the strength of Christ is able to step in because of our humility to recognize we cannot do it alone. Moses was powerful in words and deeds because it was through God’s power that he spoke, and he followed through on those words. He acted. If it wasn’t for the action, the words wouldn’t have meant so much. If it wasn’t for God, he wouldn’t have been able to speak at all.
“Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” – Acts 7:22 [NIV]
There was a man and his son standing in line with a group of other people. A lady standing next to the man began talking to the man with typical small talk. The man’s son walked up to the woman he did not know and he smacked the woman. The man immediately grabbed the boy and smacked him again and again. He then said he did not know how his boy learns this behavior because he surely did not learn it from him.
I do not want to get into a discipline discussion. The Bible tells us not to spare the rod. Children need discipline. But I think it is important to make note of our actions because our children learn by example. The boy was not told to apologize. The boy was not told why what he did was wrong. He was not taught a right way to handle the situation. He was hit and then hit again. Perhaps the first hit wasn’t hard enough so it needed to be reinforced.
Today I challenge you to be an example of what you want your children to follow. When they need discipline, discipline them. But be mindful that they will learn from your example. You might not even realize what you are teaching them. The actions speak so much louder than the words. Today’s verse can be seen as one for leaders, for parents, and for anyone. A good example speaks volumes.
“Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” – 1 Peter 5:3 [NLT]
“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” – Psalm 145:9 [NIV]
Today’s verse needs to be read slowly by everyone. “The LORD is good to ALL; he has compassion on ALL he has made.” All people. ALL PEOPLE.
Most of us have read this verse and we see it as we wish to see it. For some of us, it says, The LORD is good to me; he has compassion on me. Some read it as saying, The Lord is good to all the people I say he is good to, and he has compassion on whoever I think he should have compassion on. Some people understand the all people but when it comes time to be the Lord’s hand and feet, we are a bit selective with the “all people.”
It is hard for us to be good to all and to have compassion on all people. We don’t like everyone. We don’t understand everyone. We are confused by some people. Some people hurt us. Some people anger us. Do we really have to be good and compassionate to all people? Yes. It’s difficult. For most of us it is a daily challenge. Today, remember that you are a part of the “all people.” Today be the hands and feet that God calls you to be—don’t be selective with the word all. There can be no omissions. All people. Love all people. Be kind to all people.