This evening we are going to address the subject of associations and how the people that you choose to associate with will affect your life on this earth and in the life to come. We will also discuss how whom you associate with can affect your health and wellbeing. In Messages to Young People pg. 31, Ellen White makes a statement about associations, and the affect they can have on your life.
“O that every one might realize that he is the arbiter of his own destiny! Your happiness for this life, and for the future, immortal life lies with yourself.” MYP pg.31
So who has control of your own destiny? You do. No one else can do this for you because they cannot make your choices and decisions for you. Even God cannot make your choices. Later on in the same passage it says, “If you choose, you may have associates who, by their influence, will cheapen your thoughts, your words, and your morals. You can give loose rein to appetite and passion, despise authority, use coarse language, and degrade yourself to the lowest level.” So you should be careful that the friends you choose to associate with are being a good influence on you and not a hindrance to your spiritual life. In Mt 12:35 it says, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” So what you sow that shall you also reap. So if you are associating with good men and women they will bring forth good things that will help you in your Christian experience but if you are always in the presence of evil company they will corrupt you and you will begin to bring forth evil things that will become a stumbling block not only to you but to others also.
Not only can the people you associate with corrupt your own character and become a bad influence on you, but they can also damage your influence for good. Thus hindering your witness for God. Continuing in messages to young people pg. 31 it says:
“Your influence may be such as to contaminate others, and you may be the cause of ruining those whom you might have brought to Christ. You may lead from Christ, from right, from holiness, and from heaven. In the judgment the lost may point to you and say, "If it had not been for his influence, I would not have stumbled and made a mock of religion. He had light, he knew the way to heaven. I was ignorant, and went blindfolded on my way to destruction." She then asks the question, “O, what answer can we give to such a charge? How important it is that every one shall consider where he is leading souls.”
How will you justify your actions if a person who was lost didn’t make it to heaven because of your influence? There would be no justification for something like that. You will be making God suffer through all eternity because one of the souls that he died for was so carelessly misled your actions. You had the truth but you didn’t live it. We will be held accountable for not sharing this information with them. So it seems that whom you associate with doesn’t just affect yourself, but also affects those around you and those who witness what you do while with your friends. Also it will affect your friends themselves because if you join in with their folly you aren’t being a witness for good you are simply giving them a proverbial push down the slide of destruction. In the last few sentences of the same quote it says:
“We are in view of the eternal world, and how diligently we should count the cost of our influence. We should not drop eternity out of our reckoning, but accustom ourselves to ask continually, Will this course be pleasing to God? What will be the influence of my action upon the minds of those who have had much less light and evidence as to what is right?”
We should always keep Christ first in everything we do. It is so important with every aspect of our lives. Even something that may seem harmless the devil can corrupt and pervert to be used as wrong....
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