Set the Example 


Proverbs 1:10 

King James Version (KJV) 

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 

Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in him. – St. Augustine 

Sin is a very compelling subject, and it is a trap that is so easy for the believer to fall into. Sin causes a breakdown in our relationship with our creator, and can cause trouble even in our earthly relationships. None of us are sin free, but sometimes we find the compulsion to sin overwhelming. Simply put, we enjoy it. 

The Proverb we are looking at is a warning to avoid those that might lead you astray. Put another way it says: Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them. (The Message) When our friends are doing something we naturally would like to be a part of it. If we cannot separate ourselves from the worldliness of our companions, we need to part company. 

That poses quite the quandary. The New Testament teaches us that we are to be the salt that flavors the world. We could take the extreme view and distance ourselves from all people who are not Christians. However, in doing so we lose the ability to be the salt. We lose the ability to be a positive influence on those who need it the most. The flip side of that coin is that by participating in sinful activities we endanger our relationship with God. So what is a believer to do? 

Part of the answer lies in this proverb. It clearly tells us that if our companions, or friends, are leading us down the wrong path we must refuse to go along with it. That makes it a conscious act of refusal. It doesn’t say to write them out of your life, or to diminish your friendship, it says to refuse to sin. 

We are to be the example. It is our job to show others how to live their lives by the way that we live ours. If we go along with sinful suggestions then we have failed in our witness. 

“Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and insensibly approximate to the characters we most admire. In this way, a generous habit of thought and of action carries with it an incalculable influence.” -- Christian Nestell Bovee 

Rather than cutting ourselves off from the world, we need to influence the world. Avoid sin, but still engage the sinner.  

Dear God, when the attraction of sin is so strong give me the strength that I need to stay away from the trap. Allow me to be a Godly influence on my friends, and to model a good life before them. Amen.