Written by Lee Stevenson, sorry I am not the best editor.
We are warned about bad associations. I am going to try and clarify what bad associations are , sometimes the line can be narrow and it is that narrow line that has drawn many away from God.
We are warned not to mislead ourselves when it comes to bad associations. One example we are given is Cain and Able. Cain seemed to be worshiping God the same as Able. Cain and Able made offerings to God. Why did God not look on favor with Cains offering? He could read what was in Cains heart he knew Cain was jealous of Able. He knew Cain had been having thoughts he should not have. Instead of accepting the correction from God Cain chose his own way and killed Able. Often times bad associations are not obvious and those are the most dangerous ones spiritually because they can slowly erode away at our faith they can also cause us to fall short and lose our relationship with God. We will need God now more then ever since things are rapidly winding down.
What if someone may not believe in God or may not take an interest in God but seems to be very kind, and loving and trust worthy. The answer to that is to share God’s word with them. See how they react. God’s word is sharper then any two edged sword able to discern the deeper things of the heart. More subtle things can draw people away like maybe the person makes fun of a certain type or group of people. Or maybe they talk about things others people do like gossip. I am not talking about news events, but more speaking of people in a way to either make themselves look better or dwelling on others flaws. Also pay attention to how they treat those who treat them bad or hate them. Anyone can treat those who love them well but if they return the hate or mean behavior then they are not imitating Christ and it could develop that attitude in us. Does the things a person say build someone up or does it cause division and strife? Does this person tend to be very secretive and only tell you certain things? Often times deceptive people will try to avoid talking about themselves or their day. Does the person hold onto anger and tend to not forgive others. The bible warns this can leave an opportunity for the devil. If a person does do things they should not do how do they respond to correction. If they accept the correction and work to improving themselves daily and work to draw closer to God then we should consider that. Keep in mind we are all imperfect, we should not overlook each others short comings and being aware of a friend’s short comings as they work on them and they being aware of yours can work as a protection when both people have a deep love and faith in God. But many of the world no matter how nice they may seem will usually try to capitalize on those short comings. If we fall into the trap of judging others the bible warns we will be judged likewise. This is a subtle trap to fall into , even gossip can lead to us ruining someones reputation. For example I was stating something good about someone a skill they had. I told someone I thought was a friend how I was impressed by that skill. They started gossiping stating the person was spending all their time with the skill they had and not applying themselves spritually. When the sister was confronted she told the person I stated that which I did not. She twisted what I had stated. So even those who are spiritually related we have to be cautious of if they are a gossiper because that brother stopped talking to me. We should not judge the person if we have confronted them or they have been corrected by the elders for their behavior and still have not adjusted their behavior it may be wise to avoid them when possilbe.
Many can be blinded by the beauty of a woman or man. We must be careful that does not happen. Get to know someone very well and we should do our best not to let their looks fool us into being blind to things the person may do that could cause us to fall short of God. Often times they may seem very nice but we should take note, do they put God first in their life? Does the person put more confidence and faith in the world. We are told putting faith in things of the flesh is in conflict with God. It is not wrong to own worldly possessions or to have wealth but if we put those before God it will draw us away and so can someone who puts wealth and things of the world first. Those who put their confidence in the world even if they are a spiritual relative can cause us more then spiritual harm because they may appear to have faith in God but usually eventually fall away and in doing so hurt many people. Often times whole families suffer from the effects of them putting their faith in the world. The bible tells us the parents are to give the children their spiritual food by sharing the scriptures with them. This takes a lot of work and both parents should be involved because the parents set the example for the children. If one of the parents does not apply themselves and are putting more faith in the world it can eventually effect the whole family. Even worse because a person does not have the reverential fear of God they should , they may betray friends or family. Does this mean we should go through life not trusting anyone? Not at all it just means we need to be careful and watch for patterns. We all fall short at one time or another, it is when the before reoccurs we need to be cautious.
I mentioned earlier about those who do not study the bible or who do not have faith. These ones are usually scoffers. We are even warned to be cautious of scoffers. It could get us to pay no note of the times we are in. It is clear we are in the final minutes of this system but it said many would take no note until destruction was suddenly upon them. We know Jesus said the things that would occur would happen on a grand scale like they have never occurred before. We are now seeing that occur and much more rapidly as this system nears it’s end. We are told it will be just as it was in Noah’s day. Noah prepared for the destruction the flood would cause by building the ark. Only seven people survived the flood. We are told to prepare by entering the narrow gate, the bible said few would enter the narrow gate. Jesus told us to constantly stay awake. We were also told we should imitate Jesus the best we can to enter the narrow gate. Many will want to enter but it will be too late because they did not stay awake and he will say get away from me workers of unrighteousness I do not know you. Those who do not believe in God do not believe in the destruction that is coming. They could distract us enough that by the time we realize what time frame we are in it could be too late. We are told not to become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. Solomon took wives who believed in other gods and they eventually drew him away from true worship. Israel started associating with those in Moab. They have very similar practices as Israel so this caused Israel to be led into Baal worship. There is only one true God and this made him angry. This resulted in 24,000 people dying. If we want God’s protection through these last days we need to make sure of the little things. It was the little things that Satan used to trick people because he knows we are always on the guard for the obvious temptations and things that may draw us away. There are many who will make excuses for not applying themselves more spiritually. Those who are spiritually lazy will always see a lion in the road but those who truly love God and want to draw closer will find a way around the lion. Because this is the last days we are going to suffer no matter what. It would be better to suffer with God on your side rather then against you. I can say God has pulled me through many things that I have watched others die from so I have not doubt what staying close to God can do to protect a person.
I have to interact a lot on social media because I am teaching people things about certain types of illness that I experienced and how I healed from them. I only interact with many of them when I have to because I do not know them well enough to know whether they are a bad association or not. I am very careful who I give my phone number to and my email address. The bible warns to be cautious as a serpent but kind as a dove. For the most part I limit how much I interact with people on social media sites. I have found if you interact too much you can get caught up in news events and other things that can consume large amounts of time and even emotional resources. If I feel this happening I start limiting my time on social media. I post scriptures and share bible truths but I am very cautious when I interact with those on social media. Social media makes information available that you just cannot find anywhere else. The search engines heavily censor preventive health information and information on naturally healing . Things God told us to use to heal often times they will censor even on social media. I and many others were very very ill and if it was not for social media we would could not have learned to heal. We could get a sense of obligation to others on social media for the help we were given. We are to help others when they are in need but we need to be cautious how we go about it. We have to remember Satan and his messengers can appear as angels of light. The bible even warned those who are effected by the operations of Satan could perform great signs and works that could deceive someone. This is where looking at a persons fruits and how many they produce and as they grow spiritually do they produce more fruit. These people can appear to be humble and kind but if you look at the fruits they produced like do they have trust worthy friends, do they have a stable family, do they put spiritual things first in their life so they can draw close and stay close to Jehovah. Is the person we are choosing to associate with prideful, do they show envy, is the person patient when you are working on an imperfection, or does the person get easily provoked? We are told love does not do those things. If they do those things it indicates they do not know know God or they need spiritual guidance if they will accept it. God is love and we are to do our best to imitate him.
Where it gets more difficult is when family is bad associations because we have certain obligations. We just have to be careful how we interact with them and experience has taught me when to interact with them. For example I stopped attending certain family events because this is when it seems their bad qualities would really show. When possible I would not leave family do without. In fact we aren’t even supposed to leave our enemies do without out so how much more would we be expected to take care of family? We have to remember the children in our family follow the examples they see. Would we want the children in our family imitating those we associate with? What children learn from their parents could save their lives as things rapidly wind down. Honoring our fathers and mothers comes with a promise of living longer so it is very important we honor our parents.
We cannot take ourselves entirely out of the world. We have to work, and interact in a variety of ways for daily life. We also were given the work of making disciples of others and of declaring the good news of the kingdom in all the earth which is one of the final prophesies. Our work is almost done and better times are very very near. We need to sure ourselves up spiritually now more then ever just as God had Israel do in the past just before they received the fulfillment of promises God had made. This protects us so Satan and his people cannot blind us to the path we need to take as happened to many who did not listen and were deceived and did not get to see the promised land. We will be wronged many times by the world. We should never retaliate or seek revenge. Some day one of those people could accept the truth and be a spiritual relative. If we responded negatively towards them we could slow them learning the truth and if they do not take an interest in the truth then the judgment will be on them and not ourselves. This is why the bible says conquer the evil with the good. When someone wrongs us even if it is family and they do not repent or make recompense then we need to pray for them, forgive them and be more cautious around them but we should not judge them or seek revenge. We can not read peoples hearts God can. We can not judge righteously because we are imperfect. God is perfect so his judgment is righteous and perfect. We will suffer no matter what , if we want to make it through it or be remembered by God during the resurrection we have to do our best to please him and let him guide us. Many will realize too late and will not have God’s word written on their heart by practicing what they have learned. We are told God will call these things to our minds during the great tribulation to help us through it. We are told those who endure to the end will be the ones who will be saved and these ones will get to enjoy eternal life with no more sadness , pain or death. Often times bad associations can lead us down dangerous paths or even life changing events that can take a very long time to recover from if we survive. Now more then ever we need to avoid that because we are already living in dangerous times and it would not be wise to add to the dangers spiritually and physically that we are already enduring.
(1 Corinthians 15:33, 34) 33 Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits. 34 Come to your senses in a righteous way and do not practice sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I am speaking to move you to shame.
(1 John 3:9-12) 9 Everyone who has been born from God does not practice sin, for His seed remains in such one, and he cannot practice sin, for he has been born from God. 10 The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Whoever does not practice righteousness does not originate with God, nor does the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for what reason did he slaughter him? Because his own works were wicked, but those of his brother were righteous.
(Genesis 4:2-7) . . .Abel became a shepherd of the flock, but Cain became a cultivator of the ground. 3 After some time, Cain brought some fruits of the land as an offering to Jehovah. 4 But Abel brought some firstlings of his flock, including their fat. While Jehovah looked with favor on Abel and on his offering, 5 he did not look with any favor on Cain and on his offering. So Cain grew hot with anger and was dejected. 6 Then Jehovah said to Cain: “Why are you so angry and dejected? 7 If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the door, and its craving is to dominate you; but will you get the mastery over it?”
(Ephesians 4:31-5:2) 31 Put away from yourselves every kind of malicious bitterness, anger, wrath, screaming, and abusive speech, as well as everything injurious. 32 But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you. 5 Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and go on walking in love, just as the Christ also loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice, a sweet fragrance to God.
(Luke 6:31-36) 31 “Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them. 32 “If you love those loving you, of what credit is it to you? For even the sinners love those loving them. 33 And if you do good to those doing good to you, of what credit is it to you? Even the sinners do the same. 34 Also, if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, of what credit is it to you? Even sinners lend to sinners so that they may get back as much. 35 On the contrary, continue to love your enemies and to do good and to lend without hoping for anything back; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind toward the unthankful and wicked. 36 Continue being merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
(Proverbs 7:20-27) 20 He took a bag of money with him, And he will not return until the day of the full moon.” 21 She misleads him with great persuasiveness. She seduces him with smooth speech. 22 Suddenly he goes after her, like a bull to the slaughter, Like a fool to be punished in the stocks, 23 Until an arrow pierces his liver; Like a bird rushing into a trap, he does not know that it will cost him his life. 24 And now, my sons, listen to me; Pay attention to the words I speak. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways. Do not stray onto her paths, 26 For she has caused many to fall down slain, And those she has killed are numerous. 27 Her house leads to the Grave; It goes down to the inner chambers of death.
(Ephesians 4:25-30) 25 Therefore, now that you have put away deceit, each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another. 26 Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry; 27 do not give the Devil an opportunity. 28 Let the one who steals steal no more; rather, let him do hard work, doing good work with his hands, so that he may have something to share with someone in need. 29 Let a rotten word not come out of your mouth, but only what is good for building up as the need may be, to impart what is beneficial to the hearers. 30 Also, do not be grieving God’s holy spirit, with which you have been sealed for a day of releasing by ransom.
(Galatians 6:7-10) 7 Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap; 8 because the one sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but the one sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit. 9 So let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due time we will reap if we do not tire out. 10 So, then, as long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.
(Proverbs 21:2, 3) 2 All of a man’s ways seem right to him, But Jehovah examines the hearts. 3 To do what is right and just Is more pleasing to Jehovah than a sacrifice.
(1 John 2:15-17) 15 Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; 16 because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. 17 Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
(John 6:39, 40) . . .. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17-19) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; look! new things have come into existence. 18 But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not counting their offenses against them, and he entrusted to us the message of the reconciliation.
(James 4:11, 12) 11 Stop speaking against one another, brothers. Whoever speaks against a brother or judges his brother speaks against law and judges law. Now if you judge law, you are not a doer of law but a judge. 12 There is only one who is Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy. But you, who are you to be judging your neighbor?
(2 Peter 3:2-7) . . .. 3 First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning.” 5 For they deliberately ignore this fact, that long ago there were heavens and an earth standing firmly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; 6 and that by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was flooded with water. 7 But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist are reserved for fire and are being kept until the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly people.
(Luke 13:23-30) . . .: 24 “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able. 25 When the householder gets up and locks the door, you will stand outside knocking at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ But in answer he will say to you: ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 Then you will start saying, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our main streets.’ 27 But he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Get away from me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’ 28 There is where your weeping and the gnashing of your teeth will be, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown outside. 29 Furthermore, people will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the Kingdom of God. 30 And look! there are those last who will be first, and there are those first who will be last.”
(Psalm 10:2-6) 2 The wicked one arrogantly pursues the helpless one, But he will be caught in the schemes he devises. 3 For the wicked one boasts about his selfish desires And blesses the greedy one; נ [Nun] He disrespects Jehovah. 4 In his haughtiness, the wicked man makes no investigation; All his thoughts are: “There is no God.” 5 His ways keep prospering, But your judgments are beyond his understanding; He scoffs at all his adversaries. 6 He says in his heart: “I will never be shaken; For generation after generation I will never see calamity.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-5) 5 Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. 3 Whenever it is that they are saying, “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them, just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape. 4 But you, brothers, you are not in darkness, so that the day should overtake you as it would thieves, 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We belong neither to night nor to darkness.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18) 14 Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Beʹli·al? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I will reside among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “‘Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take you in.’” 18 “‘And I will become a father to you, and you will become sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah, the Almighty.”
(Numbers 25:1-3) 25 When Israel was dwelling in Shitʹtim, the people started to commit sexual immorality with the daughters of Moʹab. 2 The women invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people began to eat and to bow down to their gods. 3 So Israel joined in worship of the Baʹal of Peʹor, and Jehovah became enraged with Israel.
(Proverbs 26:13) 13 The lazy one says: “There is a young lion in the road, A lion in the public square!”
(2 Corinthians 11:12-15) 12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to eliminate the pretext of those who are wanting a basis for being found equal to us in the things about which they boast. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) 9 But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders 10 and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. 11 That is why God lets a deceptive influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.
(Galatians 5:22-24) 22 On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed to the stake the flesh together with its passions and desires.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(Ephesians 6:1-4) . . .. 2 “Honor your father and your mother” is the first command with a promise: 3 “That it may go well with you and you may remain a long time on the earth.” 4 And fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and admonition of Jehovah.
(Acts 18:7, 8) . . .. 8 But Crisʹpus, the presiding officer of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, along with all his household. .
(1 Timothy 3:1-7) 3 This statement is trustworthy: If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. 2 The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, 4 a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children in subjection with all seriousness 5 (for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?), 6 not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed on the Devil. 7 Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from outsiders so that he does not fall into reproach and a snare of the Devil.
(Romans 12:20, 21) 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.
(John 14:26-29) . . .. 27 I leave you peace; I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink out of fear. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am. 29 So now I have told you before it occurs, so that you may believe when it does occur. . .
(Matthew 10:16-22) 16 “Look! I am sending you out as sheep among wolves; so prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard against men, for they will hand you over to local courts and they will scourge you in their synagogues. 18 And you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations. 19 However, when they hand you over, do not become anxious about how or what you are to speak, for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour; 20 for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you. 21 Further, brother will hand brother over to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and will have them put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all people on account of my name, but the one who has endured to the end will be saved.
(John 14:25, 26) 25 “I have spoken these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.