This week, my Sunday school teacher kindly offered donuts to the class. Halfway through the lesson, he let us know some of the donuts had been sitting overnight in a sealed container that also contained garlic. No wonder they tasted funny.
It was a lesson for youth on choosing your friends wisely. As the garlic “influenced” the donuts, so our friends influence us.
A lot of other voices influence us, too, and it doesn’t stop when we get past the teenage years. Our thoughts, our words, our attitudes are constantly being adjusted by the messages we take in from other people.
You may have heard that in the first century, Jewish men could become followers or disciples of a rabbi (teacher). These disciples would listen, learn, and follow their rabbi’s teachings closely. So closely, in fact, they were said to “walk in their rabbi’s dust.”
So whose dust are you wearing?
What books, blogs, articles, social media posts, and text messages do you read regularly? What TV shows or YouTube channels do you follow? What movies do you watch? What music do you listen to?
Who is giving you guidance on a daily basis? Maybe your “rabbi” is someone in your email inbox, on your TV screen, or in your favorite playlist. It could even be a fictional character.
Paul urges us to find godly role models to follow and learn from:
“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:17-18, ESV)
I urge you to consider whether you have willingly become the disciple of someone who is an enemy of the cross of Christ. But I also hope you’ll consider whether you’re letting even good influences outweigh the influence of Jesus Himself.
Do you follow the teachings of your favorite Christian author over the teachings of the Bible? When making financial decisions, do you turn to your favorite Christian finance blogger over prayer? When responding to conflict, do you think of song lyrics or of Jesus’s words? Do you wonder what that witty TV character would do in your situation or do you ask your church leaders for advice that accords with sound doctrine? Some of these are great places to turn, as long as we don’t treat them like the best places.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV)
Whatever it takes, get rid of the garlic. And let the dust of Jesus cover you.
Know someone who would be encouraged by this? Please share!
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