Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Who Are You Listening To?

As an older teenager, I can remember clearly my invalid maternal grandmother calling me to her bedside. Her words have resonated through my thoughts for decades. She said, “Your mother tells me you’ve started running with the wrong people. You’re hanging out with the crowd that smokes, drinks, and has questionable morals. You’re allowing what they say impact your decisions.”

“But, Grandma,” I interrupted.

“Don’t Grandma me. I don’t want to hear you try to justify your choices. And don’t you dare say that you can be a good influence and Christian witness to them. That’s nothing but foolishness. It just doesn’t work that way. The Bible’s teaching is straightforward in this area. It says, 'Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

“But, Grandma.”

“I told you to don’t but Grandma me,” she said. She then went on to tell me the story of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam became the King of Israel following his father Solomon’s death. Soon, the people of Israel came to him requesting he lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke King Solomon had put on them. They said if he honored their request they would serve him. 1 Kings 12:4 (NIV)

Rehoboam sought advice from two groups. The first group was the elders who had served his father. The second group was the young men who grew up with him and were now helping him.

The elder’s group advised him to serve the people, grant their petition, and speak kind words to them. In so doing they would serve him forever. 1 Kings 12:7 (NIV) The second group told him to increase the people’s labor, taxes, and for him to assert his control over them.

Unwisely, he did not accept the recommendations of the first group, the elders. Instead, Rehoboam took the counsel of the second group, the young men’s advice. So, he spoke harshly to the people and increased their labor and burdens.

Rehoboam’s listening to the wrong counselors had terrible repercussions for him and the nation he led. Although our wrong choices may not have such disastrous consequences as his wrong decisions did, we’d do well to learn from his folly by being very careful in our counselor selection. The goal in seeking wise counsel is to find someone who will tell us the truth based on what God says in His Word.

The writer of the Proverbs gives direct counsel in this area where he writes: 

“remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.” Proverbs 25:5 (NIV)

We need to be careful in whose company we spend our time. We need to exercise just as much care from where we seek counsel. You will not receive Godly advice from non-Christians.

Making Godly choices includes looking at what God and His Word says, not on what your friends think. It will consist of praying for God’s guidance. Non-Christians dismiss the word of God and prayer as irrelevant to decision making. They may even suggest actions that are not Scriptural and may even violate God’s Word. They also may be critical of Christian leaders, godly people, and may even be living an ungodly lifestyle. Don’t listen to them.

Running with the wrong crowd and seeking and following ungodly never leads anywhere good. We have the choice of the people we associate with and who we ask for advice. Why not choose to associate with Godly people and seek Godly counsel?

Copyright © 2018 Jimmie Aaron Kepler, used with permission.

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