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Summer Sins
Our Associations and Our Resources


We have been studying a number of sins associated with summer time.  We have noted more than once that while some of these things are not exclusive to this season, because of the longer days, warmer weather and more activities available, there is greater opportunity and perhaps temptation to engage in some of the conduct we have discussed.  We have addressed immodest dress, remembering God while on vacation (i.e. attending while away from home), how do we use our time, and what activities are we participating in (dancing, places where immodesty is prevalent, drinking alcoholic beverages, the movies we go to, etc.).  In this final article, we are going to address two final points.  Who are you associating with & using your resources for godly reasons.

 

Who are you associating with? One of the greatest things that will impact the way we live our lives is the people we choose to associate with.  This applies to many of the things we have discussed.  Immodest clothing can cause others to lust.   Therefore we don’t want to be around people or go places where we will be tempted by such lusts (cf. 2 Tim. 2:22).   In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul said, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.”  This is such a true statement.  In the Bible we can find plenty of examples of both good and bad associations.  When Jeroboam decided to reject the advice of the elders it was because of his association with his contemporaries.  Solomon said in Proverbs 1:10-19, “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”— My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.”

In addition to such direct passages, many others outline principles that enforce the commands.  For example, we are told in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”  When Timothy was told, “Flee youthful lusts” in 2 Tim. 2:2, it certainly would have included the temptation of friends that seek to entice you.  Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  2 Corinthians 6:14-17 says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial?  Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God…Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.’”  Perhaps many others could be added to these which strengthen our understanding about how important it is to choose who you associate with.

And that brings me to another point.  Just as important as who you should NOT associate with (or at least limit your exposure and approach them with caution – cf. 1 Cor. 5:9-12, John 17:15-17, etc.)  is who you SHOULD associate with.  As Christians we need to prefer our brethren over the world.  Hebrews 3:13 says, “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sins.”   Heb. 10:24, “And lest us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…”   One of the best ways to stay out of trouble is to associate with brethren who will build you up spiritually.  The book of Acts records a brotherhood among the believers.  They associated with one another daily “from house to house” (Ac. 2:46).   Principles apply here also.  Continually we are told to “love one another.”  What better way is there to demonstrate that love than by being there for one another when it is needed?  Gal. 5:13 tells us, “Through love serve one another.”   1 Thess. 4:9b-10 says, “you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia.  Romans 12:16 says, “Be of the same mind toward one another.  Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.  Do not be wise in your own opinion.”  When presented choices of association, who do you prefer to be with?  Is it your brethren or those of the world?  In this season with longer days, we have shown how it is easier to “get into trouble” spiritually.  One of the best ways to combat that is by being around those who will NOT accept or approve of your ungodly behavior.   It will help you determine how you dress, what movies you go to (if you go at all), where you go, and what you spend your time doing.  It only makes sense, that if we are considered brethren (Eph. 2:19 – members of the household of God) we ought to act like a family.

ONE other point as we move on to our final thought.  As Christians we should never minimalize the importance of being a proper example.   That has a lot to do with who we associate with and what we do with those we are around.

Clearly, we are not to be total isolationists, as that removes our charge to seek the lost to bring them to Christ.  Therefore, as we consider our associations, let us weight the importance of being a godly example.  In Matt. 5:13-16 Jesus said, “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.”  In both examples we see how our example is designed to influence others.  Philippians 2:15 speaks of us being blameless and harmless, “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”    Think about this: Where you go and what you do IS setting an example before others.  When we go places where ungodly conduct is promoted are we lending approval to such conduct by simply being there?  You might say no, BUT while there, are we making a distinction between us and the ungodly?  Do those who know you to be godly THINK that you approve of their conduct?  Also, what about when we choose NOT to go to such a place.  Is it possible that our absence is an example of our disapproval of such conduct?  Certainly it is.  And who knows whether or not such a decision will eventually lead to an opportunity to teach? 

How are you using your resources?  WE have discussed many different topics in this series of articles.  As I conclude I want to make a final appeal to wise stewardship.  We know that all we have comes from God (Jas. 1:17) , let us use it whatever we have for His glory.  In our article dealing with “redeeming the time” we noted that we are to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:10) and we challenged ourselves to spend our time doing good works for others.  But that doesn’t just apply to our time, it applies to ALL our resources, whatever they may be.   If you have abilities, why not use them to do something productive for the cause of Christ?  Devote some time to encouraging our struggling brethren (with visits, phone calls, helping them with their needs, etc.).  How about taking some time and resources to increase your knowledge? (2 Pet. 3:18)  Finally, use some time to try and reach the lost.  I know of brethren who have used their vacations to go to foreign lands and seek the lost.  I know of some who have taken vacation to go to a gospel meeting or lectureships, in another city, etc.   My point is that we evaluate our lives (2 Cor. 13:5) to ensure that God truly is first in all that we do.  We’ll spend $10-18 for a movie ticket (a family of four, with snacks, can run upwards of $50-60 for a movie), why not give a little extra to the cause of Christ instead?   And by ALL means, do not let your extracurricular activities take away from what you have laid aside for Him (1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 9:6-8). 

My point in this study is not discourage us from having a little fun and relaxing during this season, but rather it is to remind us that we should not forget God.  The way we view such opportunities as summer time (longer days, better weather, etc.) is a pretty good indicator of where God stands in our lives.  Is He truly first?   Think about it!