Although the Bible warns us of attitudes and activities to stay away from, how seriously do most Christians follow biblical counsel?
God’s cautions are for our good, and ignoring His guidance and commands opens us up to being misled. To help us keep our feet on the path that leads to life, below are 10 biblical warnings Christ’s followers should take more seriously.
1. Resist Being A People Pleaser
In this age of Social Media, it’s so easy to get caught up in gaining others’ “likes” and “shares,” and dwell too much on being accepted rather than speaking God’s truth.
If our goals are to be popular and well-liked, maybe we need to consider the following promise:
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. This is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Having “haters” doesn’t necessarily mean we are on the right track, but if we are committed to speaking truth instead of flattery, not everyone is going to respond with praise and affection. All over the world, believers are persecuted and rejected because of their commitment to sharing about the life of Jesus.
Whatever you face in your context, instead of shrinking back, or pleasing others out of fear, find encouragement and boldness knowing we all are in good company with Jesus.
2. Be Very Careful How You Live
With so many voices and opinions bombarding our thoughts today, us humans can be swayed off-track without even realizing the direction we are headed. Ephesians 5:15 warns to, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.”
How we choose to live matters. The daily choices we make add up to a lifetime, so in making daily choices it is good to consider how we might look back at our decisions twenty years from now, and how they may affect our life overall.
Romans 12:2 urges, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Focusing more on God’s truth, rather than what the world says is truth, will renew our minds, transform our thoughts, and lead us to follow His will for our lives.
3. Make Sure to Test the Spirits
Many people are quick to jump on board of new ideas and trends. Yet consider the following words: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
So how do we test the spirits? Often, our own feelings and understanding can lead us astray as Proverbs 16:25 describes, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
Instead, Scripture urges us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
By turning to God’s word to see what is written concerning a new idea or trend, along with praying and asking God to reveal the truth to us, we can test the spirits.
4. Let Go of Empty Words
Why are words so important? Does it really matter what we say?
Jesus explained why they do matter, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).
So what exactly is an empty word? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Ephesians 5:4 goes on to explain in more detail, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or crude joking, which are out of character, but rather thanksgiving.”
Even if we have spoken empty words in the past, going forward we can commit to choosing our words carefully. As Colossians 4:6 encourages, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Like David, we can commit our words to God. “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
5. Put Aside Revenge
As Christians, how do we handle being lied about, wronged, mistreated, or cheated out of things such as promotions, positions, or belongings that should have rightfully been ours?
Do we follow current social protocol, such as going online to expose the injustice and spread the word of what the offender did to us? Or do we submit the wrong to God and trust Him to make things right?
Scripture urges, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will avenge you” (Proverbs 20:22).
Jesus is the ultimate example of trusting God, as described in 1 Peter 2:23: “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”
In suffering, we can look to Christ and follow His steps as our example in walking through it (1 Peter 2:21).
6. Use Your Influential Power Wisely
Has anyone ever introduced you or pushed you to try certain activities with the potential to lead you astray and away from God?
If so, consider what “Jesus said to His disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come’” (Luke 17:1).
Stressing the seriousness of leading others astray, Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
It’s important for us to be extremely careful how we influence others, understanding God’s warning concerning leading others astray. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 urges us to encourage one another and build each other up.
Likewise, Hebrews 10:24 say, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
7. Say “No” to Imitating Evil
In today’s society, it’s not uncommon to see individuals take on the look, sayings, and behaviors of popular celebrities, book, and movie figures of less than honorable character—dressing like they dress, adopting their mottos as their own, and taking on their overall personas.
Maybe it just seems like a harmless, fun thing to do, but look at what 3 John 1:11 has to say about it. “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God” (3 John 1:11).
Although it’s easy to get caught up in the charm and likeability of clever and rebellious characters, Scripture warns us to, “Reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
As 1 Peter 2:21 urges, when looking for a role model in life, follow Jesus’ example.
8. Keep Your Vows to God
Some Christians may believe that since we live under grace, we’re not obligated to keep our vows to God because we’re already forgiven, He’ll understand, and it doesn’t really matter to Him.
Yet, Deuteronomy 23:21 states, “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.”
From breaking marriage vows to promising God various things in times of crisis, many individuals rationalize not keeping their word to Him.
Still Numbers 30:2 urges, “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”
God is faithful and keeps His word to us. Deuteronomy 7:9 reminds us, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
When tempted to break your word to God, ask Him to help you to be faithful, as He is faithful to you.
9. Avoid Sexual Sin
1 Corinthians 6:18 warns to, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
Unfortunately, even Christians are caught up in viewing pornography, participating in a hook-up society, and playing around with adulterous temptations. Online sites and phone apps make it easier than ever to be tempted and offer endless opportunities to pursue sexual sin.
Yet, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 explains, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality.”
As God’s word encourages, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
If you struggle with sexual sin, ask God to help you resist its temptations. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 assures, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
10. Refuse to Call Evil Good
The Bible warns in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Our current day society, including more and more churches, is in the process of calling things good that God has called evil. As governments are creating new laws in the land, renaming and legalizing sinful practices, many are churches joining in by changing doctrines to support the culture.
Ephesians 5:11-12 warns, “Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”
By looking at what the Bible says and seeking God for wisdom and understanding, we can resist calling what is evil, good, and instead pursue a life that is “acceptable and pleasing to him” (Philippians 4:18), so that we may produce good fruit and grow in our love and knowledge of our Father.
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