Who Are You Walking With?
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Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
That was King Solomon.
Your mama probably said something like, show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.
Let’s pray and ask God to speak to us as I ask you the questions, and this is the title of my sermon, Who Are You Walking With?
Growing up in Chula Vista I found myself in a rather unusual place… you see, I am Mexican. I am not just Hispanic, more pointedly, Mexican born right here in the beautiful country of San Diego. Growing up I wasn’t taught Spanish as my first language. I was taught English with the hopes that I would pick up Spanish along the way. This was because my father, when he migrated to San Diego recalled the bullying and name calling he endured for not speaking English, and he said I don’t want that for my sons. Unfortunately, learning Spanish didn’t happen. So, given my proximity to the border, it got a little rough on me becuase I was Mexican, but I didn’t speak Spanish. I would hear it from the Mexicans in school. It was such a disgrace to them that I didn’t speak my native language. Whatever, I was born in the USA.
So, I found myself sometimes having a hard time finding my people.
At times I felt like I was too white to hang around with the Mexicans, and I was too Mexican to hang out with my white friends.
Anyone else know what I am talking about?
So, oddly enough, I ended up hanging out with the Filipinos! Come on somebody! I love me some Filipino food!
Let me tell you how much I appreciate the Filipino culture, and Filipino people… back in 2015 I was given the award for the Filipino American Triathlete of the Year!
I’m not even joking. I was going to show you the Certificate they gave me but I couldn’t find it…
So what are we talking about Pastor Josh? Nothing… I’m healing. I’m processing.
Actually I said all of that becuase today I want to talk about the company that you are keeping. Last week as asked the question, “Who is in the room?”, but today I want to ask you, “Who are you walking with?”
From Divine to Distortion
From Divine to Distortion
Community and relationships is God’s idea. We were created with the master plan that we would do life with other people.
Very early on in humanity’s history we learn that an isolated person is not a good thing. When God created Adam he said, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” So his next step was to create someone for him to do life with, and he creates Eve. Together, they are given dominion and they are now co-creating with God by naming the things that God has created. God gave them the authority and entrusted them with the responsibility to give things a name.
You need to remember that in just a minute, because although Adam and Eve kind of made a mess in the garden, God didn’t tell them to stop naming things.
What the enemy does, as we’ve learned here before, is he brings lies into our lives. The best lies are the lies that contain some truth. There’s some truth buried in the lie, but then the truth is distorted, and that’s why it is a lie.
So the enemy knowing that you and I need each other, he’s going to bring people into your life and convince you that you need that person. He’s going to convince you that you should be walking with that person.
So if both God wants you to have relationships with other people, and the enemy wants you to have relationships with other people, your job is to figure out who is sending the people coming into your life.
There is no such thing as a neutral relationship. The people in your circle are either moving you forward in the direction of your purpose, or they are pulling you away from your divine assignment.
This is why you have to ask yourself, who am I walking with? Who is in my circle?
Let’s unpack that some more.
Define & Align
Define & Align
One of the things that you need to do with your friendships is define them and align them.
We talked about discerning people who are in the same room with you, but that must continue, and even more so when you start walking together with people. You’ve got people that are in your life that need to be defined by you so that you can align them in your life.
As I said earlier, Adam had authority to name the animals, and I think we need to continue naming people in our life.
This person over here always makes me feel loved, valued and my time is never wasted.
This person over here always talks bad about other people… they are probably doing the same about me to other people.
This person over here is only around when they need something.
This person over here is always around when I need something. They’re a real one.
Do you understand what I mean by defining and aligning? That’s your job!
You want to find the people who are going to help you walk in the direction of your purpose and bring them in closer. These are the ones that you WANT to give your time and your energy to. These are the ones who want to see you succeed, not just see you happy!
How many of you know that people who only want you to be happy may not be looking out for your best interest?
I’m happy when I’m eating sugar and carbs, doesn’t mean it’s good for me. I need friends that tell me that.
You’re happy when you talk to girl. But she’s not your wife, and so you shouldn’t be spending all that time with her. And you need friends to tell you to knock it off!
You’re happy when you go and hang out with that group of friends! But that group of friends is getting deeper and deeper into trouble. Keep hanging with them and you’ll get caught up with them on the day that they went too far. You need a friend who is going to tell you that you are running with the wrong circle.
Do you see what I am saying?
And here is a side note. This is why you should listen to your Mom and Dad. They are better friends to you than your friends are. If anyone wants you to succeed, it is your Mom and Dad.
You need the kind of friends that want to see you succeed! They want to see you succeed in school, they want to see you succeed at work, they want to see you succeed in your marriage, they want to see you succeed with your children. They are the people who are invested into God’s plans for your life! Find you more of them.
Paul says it this way in Corinthians:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
So you started off with good character, but the company that you ran with corrupted you.
I have seen this all too often when we think that we can change the person. We think we can be the positive influence on that person. I’m going to get to this in a minute, because you CAN be a positive influence, but this only happens when they are hanging around you, and you are not hanging around them.
You going to club ain’t going to bring them to church.
You getting drunk with them isn’t going to bring them to church.
You running the streets with them isn’t going to bring them to church.
I know you think you are the missionary to the streets of Vista, or Oceanside, or wherever, but you being with them while they are getting into mess isn’t the answer.
Keep bad company and it’s going to pull you away from God’s purpose for your life.
I got this quote for you that I think can help us - Love people biblically, value everyone equally but treat people differently.
How do we treat people we are walking with?
How do we treat people we are walking with?
Listen, I don’t have time to unpack everything that is I am about to say right now, but I need to lead with this. We need to get a healthy view of who God is, the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, and how he didn’t die for us, but he died as us.
And while we were yet sinners, he loved us.
When we have the right view of Jesus, we are in a better place to love others and be carriers of God’s grace into their lives.
See people as they could be.
Just as God saw us and said that we were worth dying for, you have got to see people as they could be.
I know that sometimes it’s hard to see past their sin, and it’s hard to see past their hang ups, but you have to see them for who they could be.
This is something we teach our Dream Team here at Lighthouse. Everyone who walks through those doors, you need to see them as they could be. You need to see them as God sees them. They are made in the image of God and God wants to deposit his spirit inside of them to be carriers of God’s grace to this world.
Stop judging people, stop keeping track of the mess ups and start seeing them as God sees them.
Say what you see.
You are either moving someone closer to their purpose or away from it. So, what type of friend do you want to be? You have to decide.
Are you content to keep thing superficial, or do you want to walk with them and help them get to their next level? That all starts by saying something to them.
Commit to walking with them.
Here is the last thing that I want to lead you to Lighthouse. Commit to walking with them.
When I think about the early church, they were deeply committed to doing life with one another. They were committed to each other. There was a bond that existed that is so much stronger than the type of superficial friendships our generation is living on.
We live in an ecosystem of relationships that keeps everything on the surface of “likes”.
When we think about what made the early church an irresistible force it was their love for one another. It was this community that they created that centered on the teachings of Jesus and his way of life. They practiced his way of life and it was an unhurried, deeply relational and total devotion to one another. The world around them saw that and thought, we want whatever they are having. That’s not like what we are used to seeing. That’s unlike anything I’ve seen.
This way of life attracted others and they joined the ranks of the church by the droves.
Today, the church is having to correct the swing of the pendulum. Too many churches are trying to look like the world rather than impact the world.
What does this have to do with friendships? Do it differently! Do it the way of Jesus. Commit to walking with them. Not running. Walking. Purposeful.