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LYING DOWN WITH DOGS AND GETTING UP WITH FLEAS

June 19, 2013

Text:  “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.” I Corinthians 15:33 ESV

Heredity or environment: which most determines behavior? There was a time in the past when the “bad seed” theory was  popular. It was indicative of the heredity side of the issue. Proponents believed that the genes of criminal or insane parents passed these traits on to their children. Thus the children could not resist their heritage and would be criminals, etc. Today many people believe that environment is the determiner. They hold that children brought up in slums and ghettos where poverty, hunger, and crime are rampant will be influenced to emulate criminal  conduct. Those who hold this view want to clean up the ghettos and give those who live there a cleaner and safer habitat.

There is a down home adage that says, “If you lie down with dogs, you will get up  with fleas.”  This  means that running with a rowdy crowd will result in you eventually adopting their sins. Further, your participation will have  consequences, both in this life and in the judgement. Listen!  “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

Remember those bad habits you had before you became a Christian? How did you pick them up? You didn’t order them from Neiman-Marcus!  The doctor did not give you a transfusion of sinful habits. A temptation that appealed to you was presented and your heart gave in to your desires. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”  James 1:14  You took the bait yourself!

Sin also entices you by imitation. You learned to tie your shoes by imitating your mother or father. You learned to write by mimicking what the teacher wrote on the board. In many things you choose your model. Beware of choosing a model of bad behaviors. Follow these models and you will likely wind up in trouble!  Before you adopt your model’s behavior, be sure to consider his track record. What has he done? Where has he been? What consequences has he produced? Ask these questions about his friends also.

So, here are some gems of advice about the company you keep.

Jesus told a story about an unclean spirit which left its host seeking better accommodations. Not finding what he wanted, he returned to his former host and found his dwelling now cleaned and swept. So he went out and gathered his demonic friends and all returned to dwell in the poor host.  In the story the host represents the soul of a possessed man. The meaning is this: in order to keep your soul from being overrun with evil,  you must fill your soul with righteousness.

Second, choose a worthy model. Paul advises, “Be  imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1

Third, select godly companions.  “I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts”. Psalms 119:63

Finally, a lady wrote a letter to either Ann Landers or Abby Van Buren.  (I can ‘t remember which.) She asked for advice about guiding her son to choose better companions. One question she asked was this: “How do I tell my son that his new best friend is a creep?” Next time you start to choose a close friend, ask yourself that question.

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From → Christian duty

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