Five vital areas of our lives affect our “manners,” or character, and determine what and who we are. Where we have the power of choice we must be extremely cautious and selective. We must give priority to the right choices in the light of the resurrection.
- Parents – Our parents give us the elementary and fundamental principles of life. Here we have no choice, but children do have an obligation to obey parents in the Lord. The Book of Proverbs gives much good instruction for parents and children. Parents are responsible to restrict their children’s associates.
- Dating – No matter how innocent the relationship may be, dating is a prelude to marriage. Whom people date may well determine their spiritual well-being as well as future happiness. Christians should date only those who have proven themselves to be faithful Christians. They should date only those who are spiritual, not those who just profess it. Parents exercise a guiding hand here, but young people, too, must be discriminatingly selective regarding whom they date.
- Marriage – In marriage, we make lifelong vows of commitment to one other person, to moral purity, and to God. The person we marry has an immeasurable effect our our spiritual manners. Our companion can make or break us physically, spiritually, and financially by his or her conduct. A couple should commit themselves to enhancing each other in every aspect of life. Poor marriage partners destroyed Herod, Solomon, Ahab, and Haman. Be it far from us as Christians to do less than our best for our companions!
- Social Life – Every person, no matter how introverted he or she may be, has a certain degree of contact with society. We can become an influence for good upon our job associates, friends, neighbors, and family. Christians are the salt of the earth. We must not let our social contacts influence us for evil; rather, we should influence them for good. Of necessity, we must limit our relationship with those who revel in sin, lest they lead us astray. We should be friendly, love, smile, reach out, and show concern, but be careful not to yoke ourselves with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
- Church Life – Around every church there are two basic crowds: the larger one consists of spiritual, dedicated, holy Christians; the other consists of hypocrites, backsliders, the lukewarm, and some non professing sinners. We have to make the choice of which group we wish to emulate and be part of.
You are on your honor here; no one can set your values for you in this area. You have full liberty to choose. Gossips, talebearers, and unruly individuals make churches their haunts. If you are weak and seek the low level of life, someone will furnish you a model. If you are strong, your sights high, and your ideals great, you will be able to walk among the greats of time and eternity, for they are found in the church. Scaling a spiritual Everest will be your challenge as you ascent where they are, for they are like Nehemiah on the wall and will never come down where you are; you must go to them (Nehemiah 6:3).
From adolescence through adulthood, each person constantly faces the decision of communication and manners. Only you, within the inner sanctum of your heart, can make the daily choices of what and who you will be.
There will be a price to pay. Selectivity is hard. Principle and ethics are high priced. Character and reputation are hard-won wars. We challenge you to accept responsibility and get involved in the church’s programs, services, and ministries. Be dependable, true, faithful, and loyal, and remember, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).