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Sunday, August 17, 2014

REMAINING TRUE

remaining true 
A young man wavered between two worlds. Would he roll with the gangs in his neighborhood, or walk with Christ? Although his father struggled with addiction and his mother suffered from schizophrenia, his grandmother prayed for and encouraged him to follow Jesus. Christian hip-hop artist FLAME admits that there was a time in his life that he tried to fit into both worlds. But today he has a degree in biblical counseling and is attending seminary. And his top-selling albums contain street-savvy beats and inspiring Christian messages.
Like the prophet Jeremiah, FLAME had to decide how to interact with the world around him while remaining true to his faith. During a heart-to-heart talk with God, Jeremiah voiced his frustration over not fitting in with his peers. He said, “I am hated everywhere I go” (15:10), and “I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me” (v.17).
Jeremiah had to herald God’s messages to the Israelites—confronting their sin and informing them of the consequences. Although the people plugged their ears and ostracized the prophet, God reminded him, “You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” (v.19).
When God calls us to Himself, He’s recruiting us to be lanterns in dark places (Matthew 5:14-16). Even so, living for God can be challenging when our flesh feels the tug of earthly enticement. We can find the right balance between God’s holiness and the world around us only when He’s our greatest influence.  —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
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You must influence them; do not let them influence you! (v.19).
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Read 1 Corinthians 15:33 for important insight into forming friendships. Look up 3 John 1:9-12 for examples of good and bad influences within the church.
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