For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
I look at people I’ve known for 30 and 40 years, and man oh man, are we aging! But some of the people I used to know, their lives are still full of the same problems and issues they were going through way back when I used to socialize with them. Their faces are wrinkled, their health is poor, and they are really aging. The world can see how a person abuses their body when they have drug and alcohol addictions. It is evident in their entire body. They are unhappy, miserable and poor; both financially and emotionally. They are suffering, and if they really do believe in Jesus, their lives are not showing any fruit.
I used to be in their boat, but I jumped out, and Jesus saved me. When I think about them, I don't feel better than they are. I mean, we're all subject to the same problems in this world; and, we all grew up learning the worldly way of handling those problems, which is fight back, pay back and get the last word (or punch) in!
The difference between my life and theirs is that I found Jesus and He showed me the boat I was in was sinking, and I decided that I didn’t want to go down with that old ship. I bailed out, and jumped into the life raft with Jesus at the helm, and I now float along in my little life raft (and I don’t even have to paddle!), and no matter how bad the weather gets, I know that Jesus is the Master of the seas and my boat will never sink. I have a few good friends but frankly, I don't see them very often!
It is written “Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome. Proverbs 25:17.
It's hard to pull away from people who can and will drag you down. Misery does love company. But there are some people we just need to stay away from, even if they are family.
Jesus said 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” Luke 18:29-30
He also said “35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:35-39
If we want to grow in Christ, we must separate ourselves from people who are still lying, cheating, gossiping, drinking, and cursing.
In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, verses 6-15, Paul said “6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.
14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.”
God will give us new friends (but we have to ask)! I've met Christian women since I began my walk with Jesus, and they're wonderful ladies to know. We don't 'hang out' together, because we have our separate lives, but it's comforting to know they are there and I call them for prayer and occasionally socialize with them. It helps knowing we're not the only ones struggling to live right in a world where the majority is living wrong.
Get out of your rut, and see what the rest of the world is doing, besides the little world you've been living in all these years. If you see your ship is sinking, jump! Ask Jesus to save you, too. We really can know Him. He's total love, and He's so smart! He'll guide and teach us, and protect us, and when we learn how to listen to His prompts, our lives begin to be full of so much joy and pleasure, that the problems actually become less frequent and less severe.
I remember having problem after problem, and all my friends would be having problems, too, and we'd get into a duel in our conversations to see whose problems have been worse, theirs or mine! I'm glad I don't have those conversations anymore! Hallelujah!
Now I can rejoice and tell the world what the Lord does for me! God our heavenly Father is so good!
Psalm 40:10 “10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.”