"I never joined the party crowd in their laughter and their fun. Led by You, I went off by myself. You'd filled me with indignation. Their sin had me seething."
- Jeremiah 15:17 MSG
In this passage, we learn how the great prophet, Jeremiah, had endured times of isolation and loneliness because of his devotion to the Lord. Those of us who have shunned invitations to participate in “questionable” social activities because of our commitment to God can really relate to Jeremiah's situation. Some of the things that many people consider harmless “fun” or “entertainment” can carry too high a price tag for the believer. Jesus said, "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (Matthew 5:13 MSG) God has called us to be salt and light to the world. That means that He expects us to stand out, not blend in. The more we blend in with the rest of the world, the less of an impact we will have on it.
In Jeremiah 15:19 (NLT), God gave His devoted prophet this stern warning, “You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” If God had to give someone like Jeremiah this admonition, how much more does it apply to us? In First Timothy 4:16 (TLB), Paul writes, “Keep a close watch on all you do and think. Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help others.” How badly do you want to be an effective witness to those around you? Do you have a burning desire to see others receive God's gift of salvation? Then you're going to have to make some serious personal sacrifices, even where your social life is concerned. You're going to have to be more discerning about your social activities, as well as the company you keep.
Our first obligation is to God, not to our friends or family. It's not uncommon for Satan to try to use even our closest loved ones to tempt us to go places and do things that we know are not God's best for us. And since offering us invitations that don't interest us aren't much of a temptation, the enemy is going to present us with opportunities that seem too good to turn down. “Ungodly” invitations can come in many forms. Movies, concerts, and parties are just a few examples. God wants us to be so sensitive to the leading of His Spirit that we will seek His wisdom and guidance when we make our social plans.
Whenever you're confronted with an invitation that you don't have peace about, don't give your consent. Then let the Lord handle the consequences of your refusal. God promised Jeremiah that as a result of his devotion, He would make the prophet His spokesman. (Jeremiah 15:19) Jeremiah was faithful, and God kept His promise. If you have a desire to be an instrument of God's power and grace, start saying “no” to some of the invitations that come your way. And know that when you do, you are opening the door for our great God to use you in awesome ways for His glory!
Prayer: Lord, whenever I receive invitations of any kind, I ask that You remind me to seek Your approval before I accept. Don't let me forget that my first obligation is to You. Help me to be salt and light to this world so that I can influence others for good, instead of allowing others to influence me in negative ways. Thank You that as I am faithful, You will use me to be a world-changer for Your glory!
- J. M. Farro