The whole world is going in the way of destruction, but Christians cannot afford to turn and follow it in its mad race toward rebellion, hate and finally death. They cannot slow down, take time out to travel side roads, or follow others who do not know where they are going. Yet, this is exactly what Christians would be doing if they participated in office parties and company conventions or outings where, because of their association, they could be induced to let down their moral guard. At our place of employment have we been influenced by fellow workers to join in competitive sporting groups or leagues that rob us of our time for Bible study and for preaching the good news of God?s kingdom? This is unnecessary worldly association that can influence us to make wrong decisions and can easily lead to acts of immorality. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has in its files records of just such cases. *** w973/15p.26ShouldYourChildGotoaBoardingSchool?***
Students who come home every day find that even their limited association with worldly schoolmates can exert a powerful negative influence on their spirituality. *** w942/15p.23KeepYourDistanceWhenDangerThreatens***
Some Christians have gone astray by getting too involved in business activities, by cultivating close friendships with worldly associates, or by becoming emotionally attached to someone of the opposite sex when they are not free to marry. *** w942/15p.24KeepYourDistanceWhenDangerThreatens***
We must also be on guard against extended association with worldly people. Perhaps it is a neighbor, a school friend, a workmate, or a business associate. We may reason, ?He respects the Witnesses, he leads a clean life, and we do talk about the truth occasionally.? Yet, the experience of others proves that in time we may even find ourselves preferring such worldly company to that of a spiritual brother or sister. *** w888/15p.6Success?AtAllCosts?***
Even after becoming a Christian, one African businessman?s love for financial success kept on taking first place in his life. He neglected Christian activities in favor of social visits with worldly business associates. He made no spiritual progress, despite efforts by elders of his congregation to help him. He thus found himself in a spiritual quandary?in a no-man?s-land where he was hardly a Christian yet wanted to be recognized as one. All of us can appreciate that his situation was not conducive to deep satisfaction in life or to lasting happiness. *** w8711/1p.18AreYouRemainingCleaninEveryRespect?***
Many brothers, for example, drop their moral guard during vacation periods. Neglecting theocratic association, they strike up friendships with worldly vacationers. Reasoning that these are ?really nice people,? some Christians have joined them in questionable activities. Similarly, others have become overly friendly with their workmates. One Christian elder became so involved with a female employee that he abandoned his family and took up living with her! Disfellowshipping resulted. How true the Bible?s words, "Bad associations spoil useful habits"!?1 Corinthians 15:33. *** w018/15p.16Abraham?AnExampleofFaith***
We may have opposition from unbelieving family members, including disfellowshipped relatives, who might try to lure us into unwholesome association. (Matthew 10:34-36; 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 15:33) Abram thus set a fine example for us. He put friendship with Jehovah ahead of everything?even family ties. *** w954/1p.22MyDecisiontoAdvancetoMaturity***
Meanwhile, I could see that association with my family was putting my own spirituality in danger, so upon request to the Watch Tower Society, I was given a new assignment, in Miles City, Montana. *** w9510/1p.8DoesGodComeFirstinYourFamily?***
To obey what Jesus called the first commandment?the most important one?requires that we always do what pleases Jehovah. Jesus did, even though on one occasion the apostle Peter took exception to Jesus? course, and on another his own close relatives did too. (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 3:21; John 8:29) What if you find yourself in a similar situation? Say that family members want you to cease your Bible study and your association with Jehovah?s Witnesses. Will you put God first by doing what pleases him? Does God come first, even when family members may oppose your efforts to serve him?
*** km 6/99 2 Service Meetings for June ***
Why Does Jehovah Permit Persecution of His People? Talk by an elder, based on Jehovah?sWitnesses?ProclaimersofGod?sKingdom, pages 676-7. As Jesus foretold, we are ?hated by all the nations.? (Matt. 24:9) We may face opposition when we share in the ministry, associate with worldly relatives , or deal with non-Witnesses in the workplace or at school. In a positive way, speaker explains why Jehovah permits such persecution or opposition and how our enduring it will ultimately lead to blessings.
Parents?Set a Good Example for Your Children." Brief introduction by an elder, followed by a discussion of the article by two brothers who are parents. They express concern about safeguarding their children from the negative traits that they are exposed to at school, by television, and by non-Witness relatives and others. The brothers consider disrespectful attitudes, worldly speech and grooming, and unwholesome entertainment.
When an individual shows interest in the truth, we can be sure that he will encounter opposition in one form or another. Our calling back soon after the initial contact is made will strengthen him to withstand any pressures he faces from relatives, close friends, and others.
ExaminingtheScriptures helps us each day to entertain positive, upbuilding thoughts about the Kingdom. Those who are "conscious of their spiritual need" plan to take a few minutes every day to read the text and comments. (Matt. 5:3) Many texts explain various facets of the Kingdom. For example, on November 22, 1994, the text featured was Matthew 13:4. The comment considered the Kingdom hope and reminded us of the dangers of unwholesome association with relatives and neighbors.
Jesus once likened the word of the Kingdom to seeds that "fell alongside the road, and the birds came and ate them up." (Matthew 13:3, 4, 19) Back then, soil along a road became hard as many feet walked back and forth on it. It is that way with many people. Their lives are filled with neighbors, relatives, and others coming and going, keeping them busy. This, as it were, tramples the soil of their hearts, making it hard for seeds of truth to take root. A similar unresponsiveness could develop in one who is already a Christian.
*** km 9/99 2 Service Meetings for September ***
*** km 3/97 5 Muster Up Boldness to Make Return Visits ***
*** km 2/95 1 The Word of the Kingdom-Getting the Sense of It ***
*** w93 8/1 19 Let No One Spoil Your Useful Habits ***
17 Some worldly neighbors and relatives may be friendly and helpful, though they have consistently shown neither interest in spiritual things nor love for righteousness. (Mark 10:21, 22; 2 Corinthians 6:14) Our becoming Christians should not mean that we become unfriendly, unneighborly. Jesus counseled us to manifest genuine interest in others. (Luke 10:29-37) But equally inspired and necessary is Paul?s counsel to be careful about our associations. As we apply the former counsel, we must not forget the latter. If we do not keep both principles in mind, our habits can be affected. How do your habits compare with those of your neighbors or relatives as respects honesty or obeying Caesar?s law? For instance, they may feel that at tax time, underreporting income or business profits is justified, even necessary for survival. They might speak persuasively about their views over a casual cup of coffee or during a brief visit. How could that affect your thinking and honest habits? (Mark 12:17; Romans 12:2) "Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits."
The world?s self-interest and ingratitude work along with your own imperfect tendencies and make godly obedience a constant struggle. Satan knows this, and he is out to break your spirit. He often uses family members who have little or no appreciation and respect for godly standards. Your elevated spiritual and moral values are often quite different from those of your unbelieving family. This means conflicting views on conduct and activity. (1 Peter 4:4) The pressure to turn you from the Christian standard may be intense, since you have obeyed the command: "Quit sharing with them in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness." (Ephesians 5:11) In their eyes nothing you do is right anymore. It is all due to your religion. One mother, when burdened with sick children, asked for help from her husband and got a sarcastic, "You have time for your religion; you don?t need help." Such comments add to the challenge of being obedient.
w95 6/1 26 Godly Obedience in a Religiously Divided Family ***