I was reading in Matthew 9 this morning and came across this section
10And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."Jesus did things like this all the time. Look at the people he called to himself. Rough fishermen, a tax collector, and so forth. And he took these men and he changed them. He sits and eats and talks with all sorts of sinners, and he is not changed, but their lives are changed so much.
Now I know, he's God. He's not going to sin. So that is a big thing that he has going for him, but still, he was human, and he was tempted, and yet he sinned not. He was just as human as I am... and the world did not influence him for evil.
I love my friends, Christian and non-Christian alike, but it is so easy for me to be badly influenced by my non-friends, often easier than to be influenced by my Christian friends... and that's not such a good thing. I am so thankful that God has given me the Holy Spirit who helps to 'check' my wilful ways. Who calls me to ruminate over my thoughts and actions, and to repent from wrongdoing so the influence of those around me is lessened, and the grace of God within me is strengthened.
But man, I so often wish...why can't I just be more like Jesus so that this is less of struggle! So that I can be more effective in my witness and..... ARGH! (rueful smile) But all I can do is continue with what the Lord God himself has given me, the word of God and the Spirit within. Blessed be his name for the mercy he shows me.