Acts 14. Forum Discussion

Resisting negative influences

Starting in Acts 13, and now in Acts 14 we see the Jews rejecting the message that Saul and Barnabas were speaking and the Gentiles rejoicing and accepting it.  In Acts 13:47 Luke writes, “For so the Lord has commanded us, “I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, that You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.”

In Acts 14:2 we see trouble makers working to take down the efforts of Saul and Barnabas.  Luke writes, “But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren.”  It’s troubling that people would do this, but unfortunately not surprising.  Whether it is for personal gain, or ego, or both, many people will try to take down those doing righteous work for the Lord.  As it says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Those seeking to harm Saul and Barnabas even stoned them and dragged them out of the city.  The stoning was so severe that Luke tells us they assumed they were dead.  To their credit, Saul and Barnabas continued to do what God had sent them to do.  They preached boldly (Acts 14:3), performed miracles, and their following continued to grow.

Perhaps the saddest thing is how others were influenced by the jealous, and evil people that were stirring people against the righteous disciples.  If we are not careful, we too can be influenced by negative people that we encounter that have their own evil agendas that are contrary to God’s word.  Somebody once came up with a term for this called, “SNIOP”, which stands for being, “Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People.”  If we are not careful, we too can be taken off the straight and narrow path, lose our focus, and our priorities.  To fight against Satan and the “SNIOP’s” out there, we can do a few things:

  1. We can remain faithful by reading the Bible daily and applying what we have learned. – 2 Timothy 3:14-15 – “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
  2. We can surround ourselves with people who encourage us to be good Christians and stay away from negative influences.  1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
  3. We can focus on Godly things.  Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

In all things, we should strive to obey God’s commandments and give Him the glory.  Amen

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

Does anybody have any best practices to share to avoid being dragged down by negative influences?

Reply
Michael
Virtual Bible Study

I think we are more likely to avoid negative influences when we replace them with positive things in our lives. For example, if I am going to a Wednesday night Bible study, I am less likely to do something less "Christian" on a Wednesday night.

Things like that help me.

The same with TV. If I see something questionable on TV, I quickly look for another option before I get distracted and end up watching it.

And finally, studying God's word to grow in my faith helps me dismiss negative influences fast because they are not consistent with my goals of serving God and going to heaven.

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Carolyn

Philippians 4:8 is one of my all time favorite verses. So positive and full of hope and love. Our God is an awesome God!

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