I heard something interesting the other day on the radio, I cannot recall who said it...Joyce Meyers, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll...maybe some other preacher...but it was a comment that was telling who Christians should keep in their lives, and who we should not.
It was not an exclusive, meaning excluding some person as if we were ' better " , than they were. It was a comment that had to do with who we spend the majority of our lives around. Like our spouse, our friends...and more importantly, making us stop and consider who we allow to be close to us.
The statement was , " Do the people you associate with or want to be friends with , or consider to marry...do they draw you closer to God, or further away from God? '
The speaker then said , " That should be the biggest questions you ask yourself, for the rest of your life, because the right people in your life can encourage and keep you close to God."
And the wrong people in your life, can draw you AWAY from God.
Now this brings me to the car wash incident that happened with me and my little boy the other day.
Let me set the scene, car wash and oil change 29.95.
We go one day after I pick him up from school, I tell him to bring his backpack and his homework ( always way too much home work for a third-grader lately ), and we pull in...drop off my car...and go inside and sit and wait.
My little boy spies some Oreos for sale, I give him the money to go get them, he throws his backpack down...and I sit back in my chair with my Antiques & Art magazine...ready to relax for a bit.
Because I spy out of the corner of my eye...a salesman.
That set off my first defense mechanism.
He was walking around from customer to customer...giving them his business card and chatting for a few minutes.
He had a strong Northern accent , in a Southern car wash...which I thought was amusing. His hair was slicked back with something shiny, and he had a briefcase.
I immediately did NOT want this man to come over to us.
My son comes back and rips open his cookies, while I keep watching over my magazine this salesman going around.
My defense mechanism, my quills , if I was a porcupine, were now in full alert mode.
He was getting closer to us.
I look down, start reading my magazine, figuring he will take the hint , and not come in my SPACE.
Not bother me or my son.
Not a chance.
Within just a few minutes, there he is , above my magazine, very politely asking me if I would take his card ? He replaces windshields in cars for free and he would appreciate me calling him and keeping his card if I ever needed that service.
He was about 1 foot too close to me and my son for my comfort level.
He had set foot in MY inner circle.
Guess what Ms. IMPERFECT Christian bad example for her son did ?
I looked up at him, no smile, you see he was physically in MY SPACE.
( I went to a therapist many years ago that told me I was territorial, which she thought was fine...just how I was wired).
Anyway, I take his card, again feeling he is too close to me and my son, all defense mechanisms and postures ( as much posturing as a woman in workout clothes and tennis shoes can project ), and I put the card in my purse, nodded at the man , he said thank you and walked off to someone else.
The ridiculous thing was I was the ONLY one that I saw that did not say Thank You back to him, or smile at him or be that sweet Southern polite person that is fairly common here in the South.
Nope, I was the one person, with the little gold cross around her neck...who did not want this man in her SPACE, to get close to her.
The other absolutely ridiculous point of all that is I was a terrible example to my son about how nice Christians are supposed to be to people. He saw , as he was watching too, that other people around us were fine with this man in their space, just not his Mom who likes to talk to him about God and Jesus all the time.
How we are supposed to be kind and polite and show love.
Again , God is up in heaven, wanted to thump me on the forehead and say, " Wake up Woman ! "
Getting back to the decision we have concerning who to allow to get close to us...I was off-kilter with this salesman...but in real life , the day to day choice of who I know or meet...do they draw me nearer to God or further away from God is a sobering question.
My son trying to pull me over backwards at our State Fair
The other questions we need to ask ourselves is does that person inspire us to learn about God , do they make us consider the things of God, or do they make us consider the things of this world more ?
Who do you allow to get close to you ?
Who are you willing to let in your very personal space ?
What kind of conversations do you have with this person ?
What kind of places do you go with this person ?
What kind of thoughts do you have about them ?
So many questions we can ask ourselves about any person or circumstance or action that can draw us to God or far away from God.
Letting that be a barometer is difficult , as Christians we are supposed to go where the sinners are ( and most Christians know that they are sinners as well ), and be with them and witness there.
This statement does not negate that we minister or associate for brief periods of time, or help someone who does not draw us close to God...because the act of ministering to their needs can draw us close to God. It is the habitual fellowship, or ' hanging-out ' , with un-believers that can draw us very far from God.
We are not as strong as Jesus was to dis-associate ourselves from the world's lusts and pleasures and people , to keep putting ourselves smack in the middle of sin and expecting to come out clean.
We are told to guard our hearts and minds , to stand strong.
I am trying to do this, and it is easier than I realized to discern who draws you close to God or further away from God.
The hard part is the actual ACT of putting it into action.
The lust of the flesh , of the world , is a hard , relentless adversary.
But now I can ask myself that question , and be aware.
Mrs. Territorial wishes you many blessings today,
" Hear my son and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkards and the glutton will come to poverty.." Proverbs 23:19-21