April 03, 2017
What is Sticking to You?
Devotion for the week:
A couple of weeks ago, I led our church's women's group in a craft where we dipped plain white mugs into water with a coating of nail polish on the top. I made these two.
here. It's pretty amazing how the nail polish sticks to the surface of the mug and changes its look.
Dipping those mugs got me to thinking "what is sticking to you?" Obviously, I'm not thinking about the literal nail polish you may have sticking to your nails or the food colouring I sometimes have on my fingers 😊 I mean it figuratively - what sort of things are sticking to our minds and hearts?
In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul wrote, "Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character." Paul was writing about people who said there is no resurrection. He was warning the Corinthians to guard themselves against such 'bad company' because those errors and wrong thinking could rub off.
This is probably one of the most famous Bible verses, known even to those who know nothing else about the Bible. It's used by parents to warn their kids not to associate with certain other kids, ones the parents feel would be a bad influence. I wonder if it was used that way even in Paul's day.
The principle of it is pretty simple. Hang out with wise, moral people and you are more likely to become or continue to be a wise, moral person yourself. Hang out with foolish people, with those who steal or cheat or lie and you are more likely to eventually find yourself exhibiting those behaviors too. With Paul's use of it in relation to beliefs, we can understand how hanging out with those who believe the truth as shown in the Bible would be preferable to hanging out with those whose beliefs contradict it.
Back in Paul's day, the company a person kept was pretty easy to keep track of. It was the actual people in your life, the ones you saw at home or work or around the community. While they probably couldn't always choose their company, at least it was obvious. Nowadays, though, things are a little more complex. Yes, we still physically keep company with people in our home, workplace and community, but we keep company with so many others too. Sometimes we don't even realize we are keeping company with people because they are not physically there with us.
With us or not, though, we can certainly be influenced by the shows and movies we watch, by the books we read and by the people we follow on social media. What messages are sticking to us from those sources? Do those messages line up with what God says in His word? Are we allowing errors and wrong thinking to creep into our own beliefs? Are there ideas sticking to us that are completely contrary to how God wants us to live?
Strangely enough, as I was thinking about this devotion, I couldn't get away from the thought that the company we keep also includes ourselves. Are there times when what we tell ourselves just doesn't line up with the truth? Times when we tell ourselves that God could never forgive us for ____, or that we shouldn't bother praying about something because it's too small to be worth His time, or too big for Him to fix? Times when we tell ourselves He can't really love us because we're too sinful/stupid or unworthy in some other way? Tell yourself those things often enough and they'll start to stick in your heart, regardless of the truth.
Generally speaking, we can't see what is sticking to us very easily. We're just not good at that kind of self-awareness most of the time. Thankfully, there is a solution. David wrote, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23,24). God knows everything about us, including the errors and wrong thinking we have taken on from others and the ones we've been telling ourselves. If we allow Him, He will show us those sticky things that need to be removed and the truths that should replace them.