Mothers do know best. :o) There are so many things my mother taught me and now that I am one, I do often reflect back on things she encouraged me to do. Most of them I did eventually do….except for a few things. Those things have turned out to “bite” me, scar me and damage me. Yes, looking back I cannot think of one thing my mother told me to do that wasn’t for my greater good.
One of the easiest things that she asked me to do, that I refused to listen to, was to limit my exposure to the sun. I am blessed with “olive skin” and my skin would easily turn a golden brown. Heck, at times I would get a tan through my t-shirts in the summer. She would come outside and say, “You have had enough sun. Come in!” Or, “You are getting too dark. Too much sun is not good for you!” Or, “You need to use more sunscreen.” I pretty much ignored her advice. Today at 53…I have those “ugly” dark spots all over my arms to the point that I don’t really like to wear anything sleeveless! Too much EXPOSURE to the sun.
It would be easy to think a little exposure does no harm but let’s look at exposure in this light: exposure includes anything and everything that you have ever taken in through your senses. This exposure, or input, began the moment you were born and continues even today. The Law of Association is an exposure to those with whom we choose to spend time, our circle of influence.
This law states that you will inevitably become more and more like the people with whom you spend most of your time. Over time, you will adopt the attitudes, beliefs, habits and even the mannerisms and body language of the people you hang around with the most.
Scripture speaks a lot about Exposure. Ephesians 5:5-7 states, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can BE SURE: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let NO one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore DO NOT be Partners with them” [emphasis mine].
In 1 Corinthians 15:33 we are told, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” It is true. We become like those with whom we spend the most time. As I have been studying exposure, I have found it doesn’t just exist with the “people” we spend time with. There is also the “Law of Environment” which states that where you are reinforces who you are.
This means your surroundings exert an incredibly strong influence over how you think, speak, and act. Your mind tends to gravitate towards what it is exposed to the most. Information, ideas, and images that are processed by your brain today generate reactions in the future. We only have to study the life of Lot in scripture to see what the wrong environment can do to one’s life.
Lot picked the most fertile land to move his family to when he and Abraham separated. This land was great but was also wicked. Genesis 13:13, “Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” Lot and his family were eventually taken into captivity and upon rescue, Lot’s wife disobeyed. She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. We see later that Lot got drunk and slept with his own daughters.
The influence of the environment had awful consequences for Lot and his family.
Today I strongly encourage you to take the time to evaluate your exposure–the “associations” in your life and your “environment”.
Scripture teaches in Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” And in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” And then in Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise. For a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Scripture could not be more clear. If you want to be “sharpened,” be around people who are sharper than you.
If you want to be “wiser,” be associated with people “wiser” than you.
You have a great gift from God …the Power of choice. My/your environment and relationships can continuously be refined and upgraded to support a “Life of significance”. It is all within the power of our choice.
Today, on the Back 9, I can pretty accurately say with confidence that if you show me your friends…and I GPS your comings and goings consistently for a year…
…unless your choices change…
…I can predict where you will be the next year.
The Laws are strong and predictable. A showing of who and where you spend most of your time…can easily predict where you are headed. The most encouraging thing I can say is….WE get to choose!
What kind of exposure do you want in your own life? Exposure that leads to a life of significance? Or exposure that leads to a life of regret?