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Counterfeit Community

Counterfeit CommunityKey Bible Verse: Don’t fool yourselves.  Bad friends will destroy you. (1 Corinthians 15:33, CEV)

Dig Deeper: Proverbs 1:8-19  New International Version (NIV)

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.

17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

The Bible does not describe how life ought to be.  It matches how life is.  The wisdom of Proverbs is reality-based counseling as we live in this fantasy-world of human invention.

In this passage from Proverbs, we hear two voices—the wisdom that is reality-based and the folly that is in denial.  Wisdom is speaking here as a loving father.  Fools are speaking here too.  Their message is a kind of reverse-evangelism.  They are inviting us into their dead-end lives.  But God is calling us into the beauty of real human relationships.  

Here is what God is saying in this passage: Refuse violence.  It is tempting, but it will destroy you.  Wisdom will beautify you.

Have you ever felt envy and resentment deep inside?  It is where violence begins.  When rage pops up to the surface, observe yourself carefully.  You will probably recruit others to your cause.  Sin tends to recruit.  

Look at verse 14: “Throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse” (ESV).  A cause, even a negative cause, provides a group to belong to.  It is one way we nurse our grudges, and it feels good.  But whenever we gather around grievance rather than Jesus, that is counterfeit community and it cannot succeed long-term.

—Ray Ortlund Jr. in Proverbs: Wisdom that Works

My Response: Are there any relationships in my life that are fed by sin?

Thought to Apply: But depend on it, bad company in this life, is the sure way to procure worse company in the life to come.—J. C. Ryle (British bishop)

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