Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer. [NCV]
You become the average of the three to five people you spend the most time with. (And yes, we do say this over and over)
This is why I surround myself with brilliant, loving people. It rubs off.
I do think we need to be careful not to avoid certain people who we may consider “weaker” than us. For the strong and weak must be together for spiritual growth to occur.
But Proverbs is clear that it is unwise to make your closest friends those who are living lives of foolishness, those who are angry. If they are seeking transformation, that is one thing, but if not, you are likely to be brought down to some degree by them.
God doesn’t demand perfection, He just asks for pursuit. He pursues us.
Pursuit is really the difference when you think about it. I know no one who has mastered perfection and never falls. We all fall, right? But the difference in those pursuing and cultivating an intimate relationship with Christ is that they have a thousand times more joy than those who are not, even tho the “God-chaser” may even fall more often than the non-seeker.
I see those who are investing their life have joy and shalom in the midst of stumbles, as opposed to anxiety and guilt that precipitates from a lack of focus on God and an abundant, obsessive focus on self.
It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh doesn’t give life. The words I told you are Spirit, and they give life. [NCV]
Life, true abundant Life (zoe), comes from the Spirit, not the flesh.
It is the Spirit, and words of the Spirit that give life.
May our words be truly from the Spirit as we minister to and encourage others.
Listen to the Spirit and to people who listen to the Spirit.
Listen to the person who listens to God.
We are reminded here that it is the Spirit that gives life, not us. What a pressure-reliever! May we always come back to the fact that ministry is simply moving people on to God’s agenda, not our own. We have a saying in Ripple Effect we use to communicate this:
“I can’t heal you, but I can help lead you to the One who can.”
Remember, at the end of the day, we are leading people to Christ Himself, not to ourselves, not to a group, not to a church, not to a book. God no doubt works thru these things as well as a quadrillion others, but they are never the end–far, far from. Only a means.
God’s word has power. Use it instead of your own eloquence and persuasiveness (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Proclaim the quick, powerful, and sharp word of God via your modeling of a life lived under it and thru your voice, but only when prompted by the Spirit to do so.
Here’s some words from Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on this passage:
The preaching of the Word of God always leads to a sifting of the hearts of the listeners. God draws sinners to the Savior through the power of truth, His Word. Those who reject the Word will reject the Savior. Those who receive the Word will receive the Savior and experience the new birth, eternal life.
Do you feel your need because there is a spiritual hunger within? Are you willing to admit that need and come to the Savior? If you will, He will save you and satisfy you forever!