Adventures in Christian Living
By: Keith Newell

I was no different than any other kid whenever it came to making poor
decisions. The bottom line was that they happened! I was just like every other red-
blooded American kid in that regard, despite that fact that I was raised in a very good
Christian home. Generally speaking, as I think about some of my adolescent
"oopssies," they were most often aided by an evil influence.

Hear me out.. .. I'm not suggesting that I was without a choice and that these
decisions were out of my control. On the contrary; I take full responsibility for the past
sins and mistakes I've made. Rather, this article centers on the dangers of those we
associate with and how they can affect even those who are "good" and rational
people. The Bible gives us examples and warnings of evil influences beginning in the
book of Genesis and going through the book of Revelation.

King Solomon was considered to have been the wisest man who ever lived.
He served God faithfully his entire life. He was responsible for building the earthly
temple of God, where those under the Old Law came to worship. He was the
wealthiest man of his day. Yet despite all his greatness and wisdom, Solomon chose
wives from foreign lands who worshiped false gods. This had a profound and horrible
influence on King Solomon's final days.

I Kings 11:4 "For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his
after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the
heart of his father David.”

In the New testament, we see another example of evil influences swaying not
just an individual, but an entire crowd. Recall the bogus "trial" of Jesus. He had done
nothing wrong and Pilate desired to let him go. He tried to release Jesus as was a
custom at the Passover Feast, but the crowd chose the prisoner Barabbas. The evil
influences in this case were the chief priests.

Mark 15:11 "But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should
rather release Barabbas to them."

This act led to yet another example of being persuaded by evil influences.
Pilate still could have saved Jesus despite the work of the chief priests, but he now felt
pressure from the entire crowd.

Mark 15:15 "So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to
them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.”

As we think about the power of evil influences in our lives, it is important to
take a personal inventory of our associations and the places we frequent. Peer
pressure is not just limited to children and/or teen-agers (though it may be a more
difficult time of life compared to adults who should have Bible knowledge and life
experiences). Therefore, it is good that we all consider the words of Paul in I
Corinthians 15:33.

"Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
If you have people in your life that you KNOW causes you to sin, why do you
still associate with them? Is it worth losing your soul over to remain friends? I would
suggest that we try to teach our friend the gospel and let them know that you're not
happy with certain aspects of their life. If they aren't willing to change or at the very
least, exclude you in their sinful ways, then it's time to end the relationship. Don't lose
your soul because of the influence of evil companions.