Who Are You Listening To?

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are”, as the saying goes. Or to echo a similar point in biblical language:

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” – Proverbs 13:20

There’s something about that special space around us. That space we often fill with our closest friends, and/or relatives. It’s exclusive – since not everyone gets to be there. It’s constantly shifting – relationships change and the people who were there 5 years ago, might differ from those today. But above all, it’s a place of endless potential to influence - just like our social media timelines and feeds. So for the wise and forward-thinking, it’s extremely important to be mindful about who we let in to that special space.

One of our greatest mistakes has often been occupying this space with a voice that’s contrary to the voice and person of God. Rather than taking our cues of influence from God, our Father and Creator, we’ve listened to voices that are opposed to His ways. And the result we have is a fallen world that seeks lawlessness and various things directly opposed to God.

It started back in the Eden, when Adam and Eve made changes to their special space. God, their Father and closest Friend held the highest position of influence in their lives. When He spoke, they listened. When He called, they answered. This all changed when Satan entered their circle of influence. He entered their special space and manipulated them.

“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” – Genesis 3:4-5

The irony of it all. That Satan would entice with “opening their eyes” and “being like God”. All the while they were blind to the fact that Satan’s narrative would lead to destruction, just as God had already warned (see Genesis 2:16-27).

But what about you and I? Haven’t we been tricked in the very same way? It’s easy to critique Adam and Eve for the “foolishness” of following the Serpent. But what happened in Eden is like a real-life movie that’s based on the sins of you and I. How many times have we done what we thought was right, instead of following God’s way? How many times have we ignored His written word for the sake of what’s popular today? We’ve followed our feelings and conformed to popular culture. So we’re clearly no better than Adam and Eve.

With this in view, what does the gospel say to our dilemma? Jesus gave himself for our sins, to deliver us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4). He did this to reconcile us back to God (see 2 Corinthians 5:19), evicting every ungodly voice from our special space. By accepting Jesus Christ as not only Saviour, but also as Lord, we have essentially agreed to go back to life before the fall: with God and His ways as the number one influencer in our lives. God should be the keeper and leader over our special space.

So rather than just “doing what we want”, we take cues from God’s word and His ways and let that direct our actions.

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” – Romans 12:2

If you’ve been saved from a burning building, it makes no sense to go running back in to the flames. If Jesus saved us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4) and it’s resulting influence, it makes no sense to go back to following the world, instead of following God and His ways. In our highest points, in our lowest points and in the moments we’re tempted to “do the fleshly thing”. Jesus must be Lord over these moments too, if we’ve truly given God the number one spot in our special space of greatest influence.

Who are you walking with? Are you still taking cues from this present age (i.e. the culture of today, popular opinion and influences opposed to God)? In your day-to-day life and when you make decisions, do you filter these through God’s word and ways? Do your emotions rule you, causing you to “do the fleshly thing”?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, today’s a fresh chance to get it right. If we’ve got it wrong, there’s forgiveness and grace as we confess these things to God and ask for His help.

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