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Are You Deceiving Yourself?

Of all of the articles I have written over the years, this was by far the most difficult for me to put together. It has required of me more time spent in prayer and travailing before God, and more testing and trials in my own life than I would have ever imagined, for the subject matter is simple and the Bible is filled with scripture after scripture to confirm what I am going to be writing on. If I had to say why this was so difficult to write, it would have to be that the battle I have had to fight in the Spirit to get this out has been vicious because next to the sins of sexual immorality, it is my firm conviction that this one area is the Devil's greatest tool to pull people away from Christ; get them to compromise their beliefs and their faith and deceive themselves (often by using other scriptures taken out of context) into believing they aren't really doing anything wrong.

When we were kids we used to play a game called 'Follow the Leader.' The general idea was to choose someone to be the leader and then the rest of the kids would do whatever the leader did. If you did not follow the leader in everything, you were out. Whichever leader ended up having the most kids follow them in everything they did was the winner. There are a great many similarities between that game and our walk with God, although I must point out and emphasize strongly that a life lived for Christ is NOT in any way, shape or form a game (although there are many who profess Christ as their Savior and live their lives like it is some game we play.)

In our Christian life, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living and Almighty God, is our only leader and example and as such we are to follow and obey Him in all things. If we do not we will be out, for if we are not following Christ then we are following the Devil. As scripture says in Luke 11:23, (Jesus is speaking) "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters."

The main purpose and topic of this article has to do with fellowshipping with the ungodly, aligning yourself with those who are unsaved, those who do not walk with Christ, and uniting yourself to those who are unbelievers. In order for this article to be of any use to you at all you must ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I really believe that the Bible is the infallible, true Word of the Living and Almighty God and not just a good book to live by, or is it some spiritual metaphor I can pick and choose from when it suits me?

  2. If I do believe it is the true Word of God am I living it, obeying it and following it to the very best of my ability in Christ?

  3. If I am not, why not?

If you can truthfully answer these questions and you come to the conclusion that you do live your life for Christ, then you must understand that all of the commands and statutes set down for us by God are given for our good to protect us both from the schemes and snares of the Devil and to protect us from ourselves or our carnal nature, which is constantly at war with our spiritual nature.

Over the years as I have ministered to people on this subject I have probably heard every excuse and justification people can come up with to avoid dealing with this area in their own lives. It's hard to break away from friends and family who refuse the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet oh-so-easy to come up with reasons why we don't. In Luke 18:29-30, Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come." (Also in Matthew 19:29.) Now, Jesus is simply telling people here that nothing is as important as the Kingdom of God.

Be warned straight away that to many this is a hard teaching, but if you could only grasp the fullness of the revelation of God's plan and purpose for your life, you would find it easy to obey Him in this area, for as with all things, His commands are not burdensome to us. I will not beat around the bush or 'be nice' when it comes to this subject for it can mean the difference between your spending an eternity with Christ in heaven, or without Him in hell.

Let's talk about the Apostle Peter, one of the original 12 disciples of Christ and one who was very close to Him. He lived with Him, traveled with Him, heard all His teachings, and saw the miracles with his own eyes. Even Peter had his battle with denying Christ before man, (John 18:13-18 and John 18:25-27.) Peter denied Christ three times, just as Jesus said he would. Peter did this out of fear. After all, they were about to crucify Christ and were looking for those who were closest to Him. So, to avoid being noticed by the Roman Guard and out of fear for his own life Peter denied he knew Jesus. He was weak as we all are at times. But afterward Peter went out and wept bitterly in repentance, for in truth he loved his Lord with all his heart.

This is not what this article is about. This is about those who choose unsaved friends and family over Christ despite those scriptures which command otherwise. Let us leave Peter, who, as we all know became a mighty man of God who faithfully preached the Word of God in many places to scores of people until his own horrendous death, and go on to some of the excuses for not obeying this part of the Word of the Lord.

  1. But how can I minister to them unless I fellowship with them? You must know there is a difference between fellowshipping with someone and ministering to him or her. The Bible is very clear about fellowshipping with the ungodly, (no matter if they are family or friends.) Let's go to 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the Living God." As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord, "touch no unclean thing and I will receive you, and you will be My sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty.

  2. But what will my friends and family think if I just cut myself off from them? The answer to that can be found in 1 Peter 4:1-5. "Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with this same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans (unbelievers) do - living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not join with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you." Could this possibly be what you are afraid of? What they might think about you or say to or about you? If so, you better think more of what the Lord will say when you stand before Him to give account on that Day.

Ask yourself why it so important to be with your unsaved relatives and friends? What is it that draws you to them and away from Christ? If you can answer those questions truthfully you might find some things out about yourself that you don't really want to know, but if you truly love Jesus you need to know and deal with those things. If you are afraid of offending them, you might for the cross of Christ is offensive to some. If you are afraid they might not like you any more, they might not, but it was not them who loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son to die for you that you might be free from sin. In Luke 9:23-26 Jesus says, "If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Glory and in the Glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you gave your life to Him. All of your life, not just the parts you were unhappy with. You cannot live for Jesus only when it's convenient and only in secret. I've got a newsflash for you; there are no part time jobs in the Kingdom of God. Either you commit your whole life to Him or you have committed nothing.

Why does God insist we not be friends with the unbelievers - no matter who they are? Read James 4:4 which says, "don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." Then in 1 Corinthians 15:33 scripture says, "Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character..."

From Genesis to Revelation scripture warns us against involving ourselves with those who 'walk in darkness'. Yes, by all means, we are to do all we can to minister the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, but if you do not separate yourself from them, if you keep on involving yourself in the same things they are involved with, how will they know there is a difference between the kind of life they are living without Christ and the life they can live with Him?

Take the time to read and study the following scriptures and you will gain more insight into this whole area of separation. By the way, I am not talking in this article about those of you who have unsaved spouses, for scripture has other things to say about your situation. Anyway as I said, check out these scriptures: Exodus 23:2 - "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong." Proverbs 4:14 - "Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men." Proverbs 24:1 - "Do not envy wicked men. Do not desire their company." Also: Psalms 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:11, Matthew 5:13, Mark 9:50, Proverbs 1:10, Romans 6:13, Ephesians 6:13, and 2 Peter 3:17. Don't just read them; study them. Then see if your life measures up to the Word of God. Remember, it was Christ who hung on that cross and died for you so you could be free from sin and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. You will go one way or the other for there is only Heaven or Hell. You must decide what is more important to you. Only God knows the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. Are you right with Him?

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this article.

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