Clergy Corner: People, not objects, lead us away from God

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Pastor Jason Pruitt.

■ By Pastor Jason Pruitt / Contributed

“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.” –Galatians 5: 7-8
Paul is writing here to the church in Galatia. The Galatian church was established, and as Paul was known to do, he moved on to the next city. Early in the first chapter, Paul makes it clear that he is surprised that so many converted Christians were falling away from the truth. In Galatians 1:6, Paul writes, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” Obviously, after Paul had left the church in Galatia, some other person had come along and misled the people.
Again, in Galatians 3:1, Paul alludes to this, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…” Again, we see that someone has come along and misled the people away from the truth of God. That brings us to the first two verses from Galatians 5 that ask, “Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
At the beginning of Galatians 5:7, it says, “Ye did run well…” Paul brought to the church in Galatia’s attention that they were doing great. They were making good decisions. They were growing spiritually. They were doing the right things. Then, somewhere along the line they were hindered. This hindrance caused them to not obey the truth any longer. Notice one very important thing about the question, “Who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” It is not asking what hindered the people; it is asking who hindered the people.
We can be misled and deceived into doing wrong. However, it is never an object that causes us to stray from God. Straying from God is always due to the influence of another person. It is never a “what,” it is always a “who.” There is always a person behind our straying from God. A person who strays toward sinful behavior does so based on the people he surrounds himself with daily. I am not apt to do wrong until I surround myself with people who do wrong on a consistent basis. Likewise, I am not apt to fall away from God unless I begin to hang around people who do so.
We need to carefully choose our influences as they reveal a lot about who we are as a person. At the end of the day, the worst who that hinders me is the person I see in the mirror every morning. I am the person most likely to hinder myself from being what God wants me to be. I do not need the added help of another person.
Who is the who in your life? Maybe it is time to make some changes with who you allow to influence you. It can only bring change for the better.

Pastor Jason Pruitt

This is an article ran previously in a January 2017 issue of the Chronicle.

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