The Bible tells us there are things to which we should distance ourselves, but also tells us things where we need to be in close proximity.
Knowing the difference will have a bearing on your eternal destiny.
This past year has brought many challenges.
One of the phrases we have learned is "social distancing".
There is a reason why.
The supposed purpose is to keep us safe from a dangerous virus.
So that we are not close enough to transmit or catch the illness.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?....Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
A “yoke” is a farm implement fitted on the necks of two oxen or mules and binding them together so they can pull a plow or wagon or another device.
Being yoked puts two animals in close proximity, going the same direction, and doing the same work!
For this reason, a farmer using a yoke would choose two animals of equal size, strength, and even the same species to do the work.
Two of the same kind are needed.
Otherwise it would not work. One stronger, or taller, or walk with a different movement.
1 Corinthians 5:9 “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people”.
1 Corinthians 10:21 “You cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons”.
Ephesians 5:7 “Therefore do not be partakers with them”;
Ephesians 5:11 “And do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them”.
Deuteronomy 7: 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them (the inhabitants of the land), you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons”
God wanted to keep his people pure because He knew the influence that these pagans would have on His people.
Look what happened to Solomon, and we could mention so many others.
God has certainly warned us about mixing and associating with those who are not faithful to Him.
And He warns us that they could influence us away from Him.
The apostle Paul gave the Corinthians (and us) a severe warning about keeping our “spiritual distance” from sinners.
The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to inform the brethren that their companions may not be the best people for them to be around.
We have some warnings from David and Solomon that we need to pay attention to.
Proverbs 4:14-15 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
Psalm 1:1 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers.
These words tell us to not associate with sinners.
In the New Testament we see that if we are around sinners for the purpose of teaching them the Gospel, it is alright.
But there is another warning that we need to focus upon.
Proverbs 22:24-25, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
The influence of others is great, and can cause us to lose our souls.
That is why Paul wrote about your companions in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “evil companions corrupt good morals”.
The problem is that these people, whom God considers wicked are not trying to help you get to heaven.
And they will more than likely cause you to stumble and turn away from God than you turning them away from their evil ways.
Humans are social creatures, and we tend to adapt to whomever we are around.
We crave acceptance, and for most, the only way to be accepted is to become like them.
Humans do not like being the odd-ball or strange ones, because most others will make fun of them and ridicule them in front of others.
Sadly, our young people have not been warned properly, and many of them turn to the world for approval rather than seek the approval of God.
Sure, we have acquaintances that we like to be around.
And yes, we should be trying to influence them to become Christians.
Yet if they make it clear they have no interest in becoming a Christian, it is time to evaluate the time you spend trying to convert them, and realize you might have more success teaching someone else.
Is the person you consider a friend, actively trying to help you get to heaven?
If not, they really are not your friend---or you have just learned their ways in which the Lord is not pleased.
Yes, there are people whom we need to keep our distance from.
But getting back to our text about not being unequally yoked, there are people who we definitely need in our lives.
We do not fellowship darkness, but we are encouraged to fellowship light.
Jesus is the true Light, and His followers are children of light.
Ephesians 5:8 “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light”.
Sadly, out of fear, many who claim to be children of light are keeping their distance from the faithful.
They claim it is a safety issue, but there has to be a deeper meaning than that.
The only people on earth that care about your soul are those in the local church.
These are the people you need to be around and learn from and follow their examples.
The Bible warns us to stay away from the wicked (anyone not a Christian).
Those we associate with should be Christians.
If they are not Christians, we should be trying to teach them to become Christians.
Paul was right to warn us about our companions and where they are leading us.
Spiritual distancing from evil is required, but we should not distance from the faithful.
By Carey Scott from an article by Ken Green
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