His Encouragement #168

Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.

You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice.

Exodus 23:2 ESV

What kind of people do you surround yourself with? Are they people who edify you, support you, and are loyal to you? Are you edifying to them? Do you support them? Are you loyal? Would you say you are part of healthy relationships?

God made us to be social beings. He wants us to develop healthy relationships. He wants us to connect with others on various levels. God wants us to form marriages, become best friends, and meet in groups. There are a ton of places throughout the Bible where God instructs us towards community. For example, in Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) we are told, “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

So, there we go — a clear-cut direction from God to build community, to be a part of a group. Groups are good because in them we can create a space for healthy love, for practicing good works within our communities, for encouraging one another, and for hanging out and keeping loneliness away. God did not make us to be isolated, alone blobs of genetic material. We are meant to relate to others.

BUT God warns us, commands us, to be careful about the people we surround ourselves with. In 2 Peter 3:17 (ESV) we are warned to “…take care that [we] are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose [our] own stability.” And, in the verse I share at the beginning of this post, God is clear that we must stay away from groups bent on doing evil and perverting justice.

You know who followed the wrong crowd? Judas Iscariot, Pontious Pilate, King Herrod (all of them), King Saul, King Solomon, King Ahab, most Israelites at one point in time (read Judges), etc. These people followed the lawless crowd and allowed horrendous evil and perverted justice to win time and time again.

How do I know if I am part of the right crowd or not?

The answer to this is daily self-reflection. Ask yourself these questions: is your group edifying? Are they loyal? Are they self-less? Are they encouraging? Do they do good things for others? Do they stop and think? Do they allow for outside perspectives? When you are with these people, does your soul feel light and happy? Do you leave the group and go home feeling whole and good about yourself? Does the group do what is right by God? Does the group obey God’s commands? As a group, are you an example of God’s Light? Are you following God’s will? If your group were to stand before God today, would He be proud?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, you may be part of a group that is moving in the wrong direction.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: in Ephesians 5:8-9 (ESV), Paul tells us that “once [we] were darkness, but now [we] are light in the Lord. [So] live as children of light, for the FRUIT that the light produces consists of every form of goodness, righteousness, and truth” (emphasis mine). When you are with your people, are you producing good fruit or bad?



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