There are many who use the statement that Jesus was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19) to rationalize their social alliances and “after-work” camaraderie with immoral and ungodly people. They do this without any concern or attempt to harmonize the clear statements of Scripture which warn that “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), rhetorical questions like, “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14), or God’s admonition for Christians to “go out from their midst and be separate from them” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Jesus did of course dine with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:9-10), but what many seem to purposefully overlook is that Christ’s agenda in those settings was clearly stated – “I came to call sinners to repentance” (Mt.9:12-13; Luke 5:32). Christ’s enemies tried to make him out to be a companion of evildoers, along with calling him “a glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19), which also was not true. Obviously, all Christians will have necessary interaction with ungodly people in this world (1 Corinthians 5:9-10), and like Christ, we should periodically plan strategic times with immoral people, not to “take part in” their lifestyle, but rather to “expose it” and to plead with them saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:6-14). But when it comes to “down time”, “hanging out” or social interaction, the Scripture is consistently clear: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
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This season is often marked by family traditions. From gathering around the table to express what we are thankful for to preparing our favorite holiday foods. But beyond the fun and festivities, one of the things I like most about traditions is the way they demarcate the years. These annual rituals help us see how far we’ve come since last year, what things have changed, and most importantly, the sort of legacy we are building over the course of our lives.
As you look back on the years, what kind of heritage are you building? Are you investing in those who will outlive you? Leaving a strong spiritual legacy doesn’t happen without intentionality. It requires strategy. It means you become generous in sharing your life and faith with Christians younger in the faith. Of course, the most natural place for this ministry to take place is in the home. Our first responsibility is to impart the wisdom and knowledge of God to our children.
When you give a donation this month to Focal Point, as a small way of saying thank you, we’ll send you an excellent book by Josh McDowell. It’s called Ten Commitments for Dads: How to Have an Awesome Impact on Your Kids.
Request Ten Commitments for Dads with your donation this month.