Scripture: I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Romans 16:17 & 18 NIV
Observation: In closing the letter to the Romans Paul warns against being swayed by false teachers.
Application: This is a good reminder to all of us. We must remember that there are “Christian teachers” in our midst today that will intentionally teach false doctrine to groups of followers to destroy them, cult leaders for example. These people are usually spotted easily by most Christians. However, I believe, that the more dangerous influences are the very subtile ones. Lifelong friends and family who have not grown in Christ as we have. They look at us as being peculiar and often times expect us to ignore and forsake our beliefs to fit in and not make them feel uncomfortable. They tend to want to question our motives or when we share with them that our decisions are based on the Lord’s guidance they look at us as if we have bugs crawling out of our ears. I believe that these influences can be the most difficult to cope with for Christians. Our responsibility as Christians is to pray for patience and perseverance and keep up a consistent witness before them. When we do that we will become an influence on them for Christ.
Prayer: Father, help me to always lovingly display my walk with you before men, especially my family and friends. I know from scripture that the most difficult place for Jesus to be accepted was in his home, by people who knew him as he grew to be a man. Why would I expect my witness to be any less questioned? Give me the ability to be consistent in my words and actions so that I influence for you and not against you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen