Do Not Be Misled

By Pastor Teck Uy

We are living at a time when wickedness is growing every day. As a result, even believers are misled and become casualties. Jesus himself said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). While they used to be sensitive to the works of the evil one and shun them, they now tend to embrace the very things they hated. Because of their constant exposure to sin, they are now desensitized. This being the case, the apostle Paul comes with a stunning rebuke and warning. He said, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame” (1 Cor. 15:33-34). Therefore, we need to watch out whom we spend our time with. There are those who come with a friendly tone but their goal is to deceive and mislead people. Jesus described them as being “in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

Since our lives can be influenced by the people we hang out with, it is best that we heed the words of King Solomon. He said, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20). Indeed, we will learn much from men who are full of wisdom. We will be honoured even by men just by being with them. On the other hand, many are languishing in jail today by being in the company of fools. They claim to be not guilty of the crime they are being charged, and there could be some truth to it. However, because they were at the crime scene, with those who actually perpetrated the crime, they were charged as accessories or accomplices. Furthermore, King Solomon said, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared” (Prov. 22:24-25). This emphasizes the danger of having close associations with those who do not have the right character. They will corrupt the good character that we have.

To illustrate the implication of not being on guard against deception and for being too welcoming, it is best that we look at the story of Adam and Eve. They were created perfect and had a perfect fellowship with God. However, everything changed when they welcomed the serpent in their fellowship. He was craftier than any of the animals the Lord created and he came to deceive Adam and Eve. He injected doubt in the heart of Eve and she ate the forbidden fruit. As a result, Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord and they were banished from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Had they not had this fellowship with the serpent, they would have not been tempted. It should be noted that when the serpent appeared, he did not pose as a threat to Adam and Eve, but as a caring friend. Through the conversation that transpired, we could see that it was laced with intimacy. This was the devil’s trick from the beginning and he continues to employ the same trick even today.

Therefore, we need to be more circumspect in choosing whom we consider as friends. Let us not allow ourselves to be deceived and be eventually corrupted by our association with them. Let us not be like the Galatian believers who gladly accepted the message of the Lord proclaimed by the apostle Paul, but suddenly stopped because they listened to false teachings. The apostle Paul said, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be” (Gal. 5:7-10). Friends, it is high time for us to guard ourselves against all kinds of deceptions. It will tremendously help us in guarding ourselves against deceivers when we carefully choose whom we spend our time with. Foremost, we should heed the admonition of the apostle Paul not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14). Let us not let ourselves to be so influenced by them that we embrace their belief systems and adopt their wicked ways. Let us come back to our senses and stop sinning against the Lord. Let us treasure our life. There is life after this and we will enjoy eternity with the Lord if we do not let ourselves be misled. Hallelujah!