CHOOSE RIGHT ASSOCIATION
17, 18. How can one have association with Jehovah God and Christ Jesus?
17 It should not be necessary for Christians always to be in company with others. A king once said: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens.” (Eccl. 3:1) So it is good to set aside some time to be by ourselves and seek the association of Jehovah God in study, meditation and prayer, as Christ Jesus did on occasion when he was on the earth.—Luke 4:42; Matt. 14:13.
18 Even though Christ Jesus is no longer walking about in the flesh on earth, as he did over 1900 years ago, it does not mean that we cannot walk with him. Regularly reading from the Scriptures his words of wisdom brings us into close association with him. By following the example of godly devotion that he set, we can walk with him as a follower. Peter said: “In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.”—1 Pet. 2:21.
19, 20. (a) What excuse may some use for an occasion to associate with those outside the truth? (b) What fine example did Noah and his family set in this regard?
19 There may be some Christians, young and old, who feel that Bible principles on association restrict them too much; so, for an excuse to associate with undedicated persons or marry them, they will say, “Our congregation is so small that there are no boys or girls with whom I can associate.” Others will say, “In our congregation there is no marriage material available in my age-group.” So they seek association outside the household of faith.
20 Did Noah and his family disperse among the wicked people because they were the only families in the truth then? Because their congregation was small, limited to eight persons, they may have felt restricted in their association, but how could they have broadened their association by including persons of that world who had nothing in common with them? It would have been dangerous for them to have social association with people who preferred wickedness to righteousness. Did not Jesus liken people not in the truth today to those who lived on earth at the time of Noah? “For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Matt. 24:37-39.
21. What makes the social association with our brothers so valuable?
21 It is far better to have only a few social associates that love Jehovah than to associate with many who may turn you away from God. Be contented with your Christian brothers’ company, whether large or small in number, rich or poor, because you are a good influence on one another, making your times of association a praise, honor and glory to Jehovah God, as well as a blessing and protection for your everlasting welfare.
A Little Leaven
Illustrating the apostle Paul’s words about the power of “a little leaven” to ferment the whole lump, is the way of preparing bread in villages of Cyprus. From time immemorial the method has been to mix the flour with water and then to knead it well. When the kneading is considered satisfactory, a piece of leaven is added. There are several kinds of leaven, but the one mostly used comes from old dough. Usually, when kneading is over, a piece of dough is put aside in a warm place. This small piece, after thirty-six to forty-eight hours, is ready leaven and can be used to ferment the whole lump.—1 Cor. 5:6.