My dad absolutely, positively GUARANTEES that – 100% of the time – the People, Places and Things that YOU choose to surround yourself with will affect your daily decisions.
Too many times, people believe that they will impact the people they surround themselves with more than they, themselves are impacted – which can be true, if the numbers are in your favor. Not just the amount of people you are hanging with, but also the amount of time you are with them, what you do with them and where you go.
This doesn’t mean that all Christians need to stay in a nice, safe Holy Huddle. It does mean that you need to be aware of what you do, say, and think while you are outside of said huddles.
There’s an old idiom: If you dance with the devil, the devil always leads. So, choose your dance partners carefully.
What I mean by this is: unmarried people need to avoid dating people who don’t share the same values and goals that you do; children need to be aware of the influence of the friends they choose to hang out with; married adults need to be cautious when spending time with people of the opposite sex.
Bottom line: If you hang out with good, moral people at safe places, doing good things, these traits will spill over into all the other areas of your life. If you spend your time with people who have questionable moral standards, doing self-centered things, at sketchy places, these traits will also – DEFINITELY – spill over into all the other areas of your life.
We humans can only compartmentalize to a finite point.
Now, the bright side of all this is the fact that YOU GET TO MAKE THE CHOICE. Who you spend time with, what you do, and where you go are all decisions that you get to make – starting today!
So, no matter what stage of life you find yourself in, be constantly aware that your choices, and thus the choices of the people who you choose to have around you, will impact your life’s direction – GUARANTEED!
Now, you may be thinking:
“But this is just the opposite of what Jesus did! He intentionally went out to those with “weaker character”, and dined with the tax collectors and sinners and made incredible impacts on their lives. If we are supposed to live like Jesus, shouldn’t we be doing the same?”
Well… the answer is a bit complicated.
Are you Jesus? Do you have His divine ability to walk in the full presence of God with every step He took? No?
Then how about the next best thing? Before hanging out in questionable places with questionable people – assuming you still wouldn’t be participating in questionable activities – have you prepared your heart and mind to be on guard during this time?
Also, if you find that you are spending most, if not all, of your time at these places with these people, unless you spend hours each day in prayer asking for God’s guidance, you will find yourself sucked into the questionable activities.
No doubt about it.
It really comes to control: Are you able to control your environment, or are you at a point where your environment controls you?
One cool aspect of this involves parenting. When your kids get to the point where they are choosing their own friends and bringing them around the house, you have many choices. You can put the kibosh on the relationship right away, with the intention of saving your kids from bad influences; you can allow your kids to live and learn, taking their own lumps along the road of life; or you can participate alongside them – actively getting to know the kids your children befriend… becoming the PEOPLE they choose to be around, making your home the PLACE they choose to go to, and doing THINGS (family dinners, games, TV time, family activities) they choose to do.
My dad has lived life with this approach for thirty years, and has seen amazing results… 100% of the time!