There is wisdom in learning to keep our distance from certain things in life: lightning, poison, venomous snakes, and liberal politicians! The Bible says in Proverbs 18:1, “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”
Solomon’s idea seems to be that the man who desires to improve himself, separates himself from worldly entanglements so that he can focus on gaining wisdom.
That is also the advice Paul gave Timothy when he said, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
Olympic athletes win the Gold by keeping their distance and separating themselves from the things that might hinder them from reaching their desired goal. For instance, they will not eat junk food or sweets while they are training because they want their bodies to be in optimal shape for competition. They chose to be separated from certain things because they want that gold metal more than anything else.
The only way for us to get the Gold for God is to learn how to separate, or keep our distance, from the world. Sure, we must live IN this world, but we are not LOVE this world (1 John 2:15-17).
Abram learned this principle, as well. Genesis13:1 tells us that if Abram was going to continue following God, he had to separate from Egypt (worldly PLACES) and from Lot (worldly PEOPLE). There were two important reasons for his separation. He had to separate for:
1. The WELFARE of the FLOCK
There were a lot of cattle and livestock at stake that were about to be hurt because of the strife that had arisen between Lot’s herdmen and Abram’s herdmen. Abram had to make a tough decision for the welfare of his flock.
Sometimes church members might not understand why the church cannot associate with a particular church or why they cannot support another particular ministry or event. Realize that your pastor has to do like Abram and make some tough decisions for the welfare of the flock as a whole.
The second reason Abram had to separate himself was for:
2. The WITNESS of the FAITH
The Bible says, “And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land” (Gen. 13:7). In other words, their strife was being witnessed by the world.
You are not going to always agree with the pastor, or someone else in your church for that matter, but always remember that the world is watching you and how you handle (or don’t handle) strife between believers.
Too many times, we focus more on our RIGHTS than we do on our RESPONSIBILITY as a believer. Sure, I have a right to do whatever I want. But I have a greater responsibility, as a Christian, not to do anything that might offend a weaker brother in the faith or that would bring dishonor to the name of Jesus.
When it comes to those who constantly want to gossip, sow discord, or stir something up….just KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!