Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—Eliminating Ungodly Relationships and Conversations
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. –2 Timothy 2:16 NIV
A few days ago, I said good afternoon to my neighbor with the intention of not having a lengthy conversation. Yet, the question, “Do you have sugar ants in your apartment?” resulted in listening to mindless chatter [not gossip] which included him saying a few careless words of profanity. When I reached the point of no more, I ended it pleasantly with “Enjoy the rest of your day.”
The comparison of a child’s brain to a sponge within the first six years of life substantiates the reason a young child who hears profanity will repeat it again and again. Unless adults have a cognitive impairment, our brains also process and retain the ungodly conversations we listen to.
Yes, later, my mind kept playing back the conversation. As I reflected on my lifestyle, I asked myself when is the last time I listened to a conversation with profanity. I prayed for forgiveness and began to listen to praise and worship music. Yet, it took a couple of days for my brain to forget the conversation.
The Deception of the Familiar
Satan uses the noise of social media, current news, and familiar people to flood our minds with sinful distractions. Watching the worldly behaviors of high-profile individuals whether in fashion, sports, or entertainment appears to be exciting but is detrimental. Always keeping current with the negativity of daily news will push one into thinking that God is not in control of this earth. Our selection of streaming and Cablevision programs indicates our preferences for the information we feed our souls.
Feeding our senses with pleasure fulfills our carnal desires. Our thoughts and habits change as we lose the desire to pray, study the Bible, and live righteously.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Many Christians feel they are in a dilemma when they accept Jesus as their Savior. How do we interact with unbelievers, especially when they are friends or family members? Are we supposed to completely cut them off? Do they respect and honor God? Our spiritual conversion requires us to witness [with courage] that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. The truth must be combined with love. Our declaration begins with a simple explanation to our friends and family, “I made the decision to serve God and I can no longer talk about or do the things that I used to do.”
Warning: Serving God can lead to a lonely walk in life. As time passes, you may notice a decline in their phone calls and invitations for you to attend get-togethers. It isn’t easy to take up our cross and follow Christ. Still, we must remain steadfast in declining conversations and invites that compromise our relationship with Jesus.
They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:18-19)
In 2017, I received a call from my uncle who was celebrating his birthday. “Hi niece, some friends are giving me a birthday party Friday night at a place downtown. I know that you are Christian, but there are some tables that are not near the liquor.” I did not get offended. I laughed and responded, Yes, uncle, I am a Christian, thank you for the invite, but I cannot come, have a great time. The irony of the call, a few days before his bar party, my uncle along with most of my cousins, and I met at a restaurant to celebrate his birthday.
Satan will use whoever he has to to make us fall. Our temptations come from those who we are close to and from strangers. Do not become upset with the person, this is spiritual warfare that the Apostle Paul tells us to be girded up for in Ephesians chapter 6. The struggle is real, but victory is sure when our relationship with Christ is number one in our lives.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].’” (Matthew 16:24, Amplified)
There is no middle ground or gray area in serving God. To fulfill our divine purpose, we will have to give up familiar people, places, and things that do not bring honor and glory to God. Stay prayerful and be led by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: God, we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the ungodly habits that are keeping us from living righteously. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen.