Keep Your Distance

The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person.

(Paul D. Shafer)



My wife and I have a rule of thumb which governs our relationships, “If anyone affects us in a bad way more than we affect them in a good way, we distance ourselves from them.” But isn’t it proper to take an interest and help people in need? Of course it is important and imperative that you and I to care for others, but not to the point of self-depredation. Don’t forget or lose sight of the fact that the behavior you associate with is the behavior you assimilate in your life.

Jehoshaphat, a descendant of King David, ruled southern Israel, and King Ahab governed the ten tribes in the north part of the country. Jehoshaphat served the Lord, but Ahab was an avid idol worshipper. The Jewish nation in 849 B.C. was in the early stages of a civil war which lasted more than four centuries. In an effort to unify the nation Jehoshaphat aligned himself with Ahab which proved to be a tragic mistake.

To convince Jehosphat to go to war with him against a common enemy, Ahab summoned four hundred pagan prophets to stand before him and prophesy victory over the enemy. Jehoshaphat, a follower of God, was not convinced and asked if there was a prophet of the Lord in the land. There was only one, Micaiah, a man that Ahab arrested. He had rebuked the king on numerous occasions for his wicked and insidious behavior. At Jehosaphat’s insistence, Micaiah was brought from the prison and asked to speak the word of the Lord before the kings (2 Kings 22:23), “… the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours and has decreed disaster for you.” In spite of Micaiah’s ominous and dire warning, Jehoshaphat joined forces with Ahab and went into the battle. When the captains of the chariots saw him they said (2 Chronicles 18:31-33), “Surely, this is King Ahab! The armies turned aside to fight against him.” In the face of impending death, Jehoshaphat cried out to God. He deserved to die but the Lord was merciful to him. Ahab was killed in the battle

Do not allow negative influences to become a distraction. Take these words to heart, “One great source of failure is found in a lack of concentration of purpose. There will be adverse winds in every voyage, but the able seaman firmly resists their influence, while he takes advantage of every favorable breeze to speed him on his course. So in our aims and pursuits we shall find much to counteract them, much to draw our attention from them, and, unless we are armed with a steadfast purpose, that can subordinate the lesser to the greater, that can repel hindrances, resist attractions, and bend circumstances to our will, our efforts will not be crowned with success.

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