Tag Archives: Friends

Have You Removed the Dross?

Wise King Solomon wrote, “Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness” (Pro. 25:4-5).

In order to purify silver to the point that it could be used or sculpted, the silver ore would be melted by fire. When that was done the dross (impurities, refuse) would be brought to the top where they could be removed and what was left was pure silver that could be fashioned for whatever purpose was needed. However, as long as the dross remained within the silver, both the value and usefulness of the metal was greatly diminished.

Solomon takes this principle and applies it to counselors of kings. He says that if you take away the wicked people (the dross) from a place of influence before the king, his throne will be established in righteousness. It has often been proven that, if you know who is giving a ruler (whether he be a king, president, CEO, etc.) counsel and guidance, you can know what kind of ruler he will be. The people that he trusts the most will be the people that reflect his morals and principles. This concept is certainly seen in the Scriptures with such examples as Rehoboam (1 Kings 12) who, instead of heeding his father’s counselors decided to listen to his own that were closer to his age. The results were catastrophic for his kingdom, and fulfilled the prophecies God had made before the death of his father.

However, let us take this same basic principle and make some applications for us. For we can take the exact same argument Solomon applies to kings and make a parallel application to the lives of each individual when it comes to their friends. A person’s friends are the ones that will first be approached for help, advice, and direction. Show off an individual’s friends (true personal friends, not social media), and people are able to see what kind of person that individual is and what they value most in life.

Therefore, it is essential that we remove the dross (evil influences) from our friendships. The Christian who seeks to follow Christ will not be surrounded by people who do not love, appreciate, and consider the things of Christ. Paul stated that, “evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33), and Peter reported the effect that a life of serving Christ has upon those old friends who do not hold the same values (1 Pet. 4:3-6).

Beyond our friendships, however, there is another area in which this parable applies: the attitudes and actions of life. As we seek to serve Christ we must seek to mold our lives after his example. In order to do that, we must first be willing to remove the dross from our lives so that we can be the right material for that molding. The Colossians were told: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:5-10). Before we can be fashioned after the manner of Christ into the kind of person God wants, we must first remove the dross so that we may approach him with purity and holiness (Rom. 12:1-2).

Have you removed the dross?

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How Many People Know You?

There are over 7 billion people living on the earth today: how many of them know you? I am not asking how many people you know, nor am I lending recognition to the ideal that how far you progress in life depends on who you know. Instead, the focus needs to be reversed and the question needs to be asked: how many people know you?

There are a number of different kinds of knowledge that are possible, and certainly various people will know you on different levels and in different ways. But in consideration of this question, deliberate whether or not others know you in each of the following three categories.

Do your friends, neighbors, and community know you? Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 5:16). Do the people around you know the kind of person you are? Do they see your character, honesty, sincerity, love and concern for mankind? Do they know what you believe about God, His Word, salvation, and eternity? Often individuals will try to leave impressions on others that do not reflect who they are. Some want to be known as simply “good ole boys,” never wanting anyone to see a difference between them and someone else. Some do not want to be known at all, but would rather walk through life in anonymity, with nobody knowing who they are or the type of life they lead. However, neither of these approaches is consistent with Scripture. We must let people see who we are, what we believe, and the character the Lord requires in life. Peter would admonish his audience by writing: “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12 ESV). Others need to know us; to know that for which we stand and to see the love that we have for all men, desiring all to come to knowledge and obedience of the truth.

Do your brothers and sisters know you? I am not asking whether your physical family knows you, rather, does your spiritual family know you? There have been times where Christians have bemoaned the fact that they were in trouble or struggling and nobody helped them. However, on more than a few of those occasions the members undergoing such difficulties never let anyone know of their need. It is painful to see brothers and sisters in Christ hurt, struggle, and grieve in difficult times; but even more difficult is the knowledge that your brother or sister will not allow you to get to know them. When individuals will not spend time with you, will not give you the opportunity to build bonds of true friendship and association, will not make any effort to open the doors of fellowship and appreciation; it makes it impossible to be there for them and truly know them. It means the brothers and sisters of that individual cannot help in times of trouble, rejoice in times of joy, give comfort in times of pain, or seek such in return. Paul wrote, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phi. 2:3-4). Have you made it possible for your brothers and sisters in Christ to fulfill this command toward you?

Does the Lord know you? Most important of all is the question of whether or not God knows you. This question is not one determining whether or not he knows you exist or sees your actions; but, rather, does he know and recognize you as one of his own? Jesus would say of some in judgment, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:23). There will be those, some of them Christians (Mat. 25:31-46), who will claim to know the Lord, will claim to be one of his children and will claim to have done great things on his behalf. However, in their haste and surety to acknowledge that they knew the Lord, they forgot to ask the more important question of whether the Lord knew them. They knew who he was, but they had not fulfilled his commandments so that he could accept them as his people. It is interesting to note that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that Christ would come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 The. 1:8). It will not just be those who do not know God that will receive the vengeance of punishment; but those who, through disobedience, have made it impossible for the Lord to know them.

How many people know you? Do the people in your community truly know your character and devotion to God? Do your brothers and sisters in Christ know you like the family you are? Does the Lord know you because you have obeyed his commands and conformed to his will? Only you can answer these questions, but the answer to all of them needs to be yes. If it is not, will you commit to living in such a way that those answers can all be affirmative, and to start today?

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