Hanging out with the Wrong Crowd
Remember in your teenage years the concern that your parents had about you hanging out with the wrong crowd? What was the big deal? Feel the concern you have now for your kids? The influence of others is a powerful force in our lives, was then and is now.
Growing up, my parents often expressed concerned about who I was hanging out with. My mom would give me that “look” when she disapproved of those I was chumming with. You know the one; the one that speaks more clearly, loudly, and deeply than any words could? They didn’t want me involved with the “wrong” group; a group that would lead me astray down the wrong paths in life causing me harm whether physically or emotionally.
God, our Father, is the same with us, yet perfect in love and truth. He doesn’t want us hanging out the wrong group; others, who even if they are well intention, will lead us down the wrong paths. God desires we connect with others who prosper our soul.
In the Bible, God tells us to be extremely careful and discerning about fellowships and friendships. Proverbs 12:26 Their influence is strong over us; a little leaven affects the whole lump. (Now, we are in the world and around those of the world, but what God is referring to are those who we listen to, seek advice, guidance and counsel from; those we see as fellow believers. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
The Bible speaks of the lies that abound and the lack of truth, and how it destroys many. Amos 8:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Revelation 9:17-19 Where do lies come from? The mouths of others. So, who we hang around and give our ear to is of utmost importance. If we feel any twinge in our spirit about others we are involved with whether an individual or group, we need to listen carefully to that “prompting” and seek what the Spirit may be trying to tell us.
Like the kids in High School, our need to be a part of a group and accepted is a strong driving force in our lives. That force can override our discernment. It causes us to justify or dismiss what we know or are “sensing” isn’t good. It causes us to overlook the little nudges in our spirit telling us something is off. Thus, it’s important to listen and heed the words of our Father in the Bible telling us what is good for our soul and not justify, but simply listen and obey.
God is prodding a lot of spirits right now about the fellowships they are in. He has been prodding mine. Many are justifying away His promptings to their own detriment; what’s the big deal, they do some good, it’s not all bad, no one is perfect, or I don’t want to be seen as “judging”. (Sound familiar, like what you thought as a kid?) If this is you, stop and listen to God. There is nothing to fear with Him. Seek out the still small voice trying to lead you to the paths of life. God desires your protection and the blessing and prospering of your soul. Trust Him.
Like those teenage years, we often think we know what is good, because it feels good to be a part and involved in a group and to be accepted. But God knows the hearts and we have to trust Him to see what we can’t. We have to trust His lead, and that means we have to seek it. By not quenching His Spirit within us, we will be able to follow Him to what is healthy and good for our souls. In order to not silence His voice, we need to cultivate a place in our lives and spirits to be able to hear His whispers among the shouts. If we don’t, we’ll dismiss it and follow the wrong crowd. Like our parents then, we have to listen to God now. To listen to God means we abide in His presence with the Bible and seek the instruction of the Holy Spirit.
Unhealthy fellowship can lead us unknowingly away from God. It can fill us with lies, which leads to torment in our souls. Psalm 26:4-5, 2 Timothy 3:5, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, 1 Timothy 6:5 God wants to protect us from all of this, as our parents did and as we do now with our children. If we take time to read the Bible and to seek out His instruction and follow His lead, He’ll honor us with fulfilling fellowships; fellowship as He intended. There is no cookie-cutter mold. Fellowship can come in many forms, trust Him. If we don’t, we are very susceptible to hanging out with the wrong group and suffering greatly for it.
True fellowship among believers is like a cool breeze on a hot day. It nourishes our souls. It helps us to bloom into the spirits we are meant to be. It involves vulnerability, openness, trust, transparency, intimacy, care, love and support. It entails each one individually seeking God and coming together to share his/her experiences. It’s in line with God’s Word. In this space, prayer is real, support is genuine and love is without hypocrisy. Romans 12:9
We are all connected. We all affect each other. For this reason it’s important to foster healthy connections and not unhealthy ones. Fellowship is a powerful force in our lives whether for good or bad, don’t underestimate its impact.
When we focus on fellowship with God first, then we’ll have the discernment, listening ear, and counsel about all other fellowships. God comes first, all others second. Put Him first and He’ll guide you to the rest that will bless your soul. As you heard many times growing up, it has never been truer than now – your Father does know best, listen to Him.
As I mentioned, fellowships comes in many forms, here are some bloggers, who I enjoy and I thought I’d share with you.