You and I must be around people of the world.  It could be at school or at work or at play or even at the store where you buy necessities.  When you are around people of the world, their words and actions can affect you in a bad way and you may pick up some of their actions.  For example, if you are around people who are constantly using bad language to express what they want to say, after a while you may also use bad language when you express what you want to say.  The admonition is given in 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”  The evil people that you associate with can corrupt your good habits and make them bad habits.  Do not be ignorant about this possibility and the dangers that others may lead you into error and vice. 

There are multiple areas in your life that you can be improperly influenced by others.  Being around others with bad language can influence you to use bad language, as has already been discussed.  The activities that the world engages in can influence you to follow in their steps.  This could include the games that they play or the entertainment they enjoy, or the drugs that they use, or the evil practices that they perform in secret.  They will try to convince you that what they are doing is not so bad and maybe even justified; they will encourage you to go along with them in their activities.  Also, you may be influenced to accept the false doctrines and beliefs that they hold that are contrary to the word of God.  “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

As the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, they were warned about their relationship with the nations they were driving out.  Exodus 34:12-16 “Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.  But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.” When you continue to read the history of the Israelites after they entered Canaan, you find that they disobeyed this instruction and time and again they were influenced for evil by the inhabitants of the land.  King Solomon married many foreign women. 1 Kings 11:1-5 “But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites — from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love.  And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.  For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”  The Apostle Paul gave the following admonition.  2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

One solution to avoid the bad influence of the world is to minimize your contact and involvement with the world.  Psalms 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”  A blessing is given to the one who avoids the counsel of the ungodly and avoids the path of the sinner and avoids the seat of the scornful.

Jesus did not avoid the sinners.  Matthew 9:10-13 “Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard that, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’”  You and I are to be the salt and light of the world.  Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  If you totally avoid the world, how can you be its salt and light?  Jesus prayed to the Father about His disciples in John 17:15-16 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

So which is it?  Avoid the world because of the corrupting influence of the world or be a light and influence the world?  Wisdom must be used here.  Never engage in the evilness or falsehood of the world.  If you are influenced by the world, then remove yourself from that influence as much as you can.  If you are able to be a good influence and be a light to the world, as Jesus was, then be that light.  Pray that God will keep you from the evil one.  Maintain a constant vigilance and guard on your life and actions. 

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