March 28 was our meeting about polluting influences. Not only can our bodies become polluted by what we eat and breathe, but our mind, soul, and spirit can also become polluted by many things: false concepts, evil words, improper attitudes, worldly heroes, a rebellious spirit, goals of the world, bad pictures, wrong advice, desire for wealth, corrupt music, bad books, foolish friends, etc.
In our very first Bright Lights meeting (and a little bit of our last meeting) we talked about how Satan doesn’t want us to be bright lights for the Lord. Because of this he seeks to hinder our testimony with his many traps, weapons, and tactics. One way that the enemy seeks to hinder our effectiveness for the Lord is through polluting influences which distract and contaminate us. We need to be on guard against these influences.
The enemy uses many different “channels” of pollution:
- Television, videos, and movies — these can be full of evil concepts, words, actions, and pictures that can quickly pollute our minds with worldly thinking and cause us to waste much time.
- Music — the words, attitudes, character of the musicians of worldly music can create rebellion and dangerous, immoral patterns in the lives of those who listen to it.
- Books — many books are clearly evil, but others are more subtle and require special discernment.
- Internet — the internet is being used for much good, but it is also full of great evil.
None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they can be channels of pollution in our lives. Each of us need to be very discerning in these areas and to flee from what is evil. Allowing pollution into our lives, no matter how little, can contaminate our testimony for the Lord. To illustrate this, we took a jar of clean water and put in a couple drops of black food coloring. It sure doesn’t take much pollution to contaminate what is clean and pure.
God has given us special protection from polluting influences through our parents. Our parents have much more wisdom and experience than we do, and can often see something wrong with a particular movie, book, activity, etc. In saying “no” to these things, they are protecting us from worldly influences that harm us and dim our light for Christ. We compared our parent’s authority to an umbrella. We are only protected from the rain (the world) if we stay under the umbrella (our parents’ God-given authority). Let’s commit to staying under our parents’ authority and protection from worldly influences.
Discernment is necessary because Satan can take anything that is good and use it for something evil. Because of this, we must be able to test what is of God and what is of the world. A helpful Scripture verse in discerning what polluting influences are is Philippians 4:8-
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we desire to be reserved and set-apart for God’s special purposes, we need discernment in cleansing our lives so that we can maintain a pure and unpolluted bright light. For an object lesson of this concept, we lit an oil lamp with a chimney that was polluted with soot. Then we switched the chimney for one that was clean and pure. The light difference was startling. In the same way, our light for the Lord is dimmed by the polluting influences that we allow into our lives. We need to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1) so that we can shine brightly for the Lord.
For our small group time, we talked about the relationship between temptation and polluting influences. We also divided the girls into accountability partners, and encouraged each girl to make a commitment or goal regarding one area that has been a polluting influence in her life, ending our discussion by praying for each other.
Our activity was small group skits about polluting influences… this is always a favorite activity with the girls and helps them to think through practical ways in which the lesson applies to our daily lives.
We ended the evening, as usual, with fellowship and snacks. Thanks to Hannah, Katie & Tami, and Hannah for our yummy treats.