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Separate Yourself from Negative Influences

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | December 15, 2023 | Nehemiah 9:1-4


Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. Nehemiah 9:2 (NIV)



In Nehemiah 9:2, the Israelites set a powerful example for us. Before confessing their sins, they distanced themselves from negative influences. It is a step that is often overlooked, yet it is essential. Think about it: how can we sincerely confess and turn away from our sins if we’re still holding onto the very things that lead us astray? This separation is not just physical; it’s also mental and spiritual. It involves a conscious decision to distance ourselves from habits, relationships, and environments that pull us away from God.


This act of distancing ourselves signifies our commitment to change. It’s an acknowledgement that we can’t serve two masters. But it is not easy. Often, the negative influences in our lives are deeply ingrained or come from sources we have grown comfortable with. Yet, this step is about choosing God over everything else, about making Him the priority in our lives. It is about creating an environment where we can grow in our faith, unencumbered by the things that hinder us.

So, how do we do this? It starts with prayer, asking God to reveal what needs to go. Then, it involves taking practical steps: maybe it is changing our routines, ending harmful relationships, or seeking accountability. Remember, this is not about perfection; it is about progress. As we distance ourselves from these negative influences, we create space for God to work in us, moulding us into the people He desires us to be.



Take a moment to identify and acknowledge these influences, considering how they may be hindering your spiritual growth and relationship with God. How have they contributed to feelings of discouragement, doubt, or disobedience in your life? Reflect on what steps you can take to create a space that nurtures spiritual health, allowing for God's transformative work in your life.



Heavenly Father, we acknowledge the negative influences that have subtly infiltrated my life. Grant me the discernment to recognize them and the courage to separate myself intentionally. Help me to set boundaries and make choices that align with your will, fostering an environment where your transformative work can flourish. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.





DAILY word study: SEPARATED The word "separated" in Nehemiah 9:2 is derived from the Hebrew root "בָּדַל" (badal). In this context, it signifies a deliberate act of setting apart or consecrating oneself unto God. The idea is to make a distinction or separation for a holy purpose.

This Hebrew word usage in the Bible usually signifies :

1. Consecration: The term is often used in the context of consecration or setting apart for sacred purposes. In Leviticus 20:24-26, the Israelites are instructed to be a holy people, separate from the nations, as God has set them apart for Himself.

2. Distinction: "Badal" is also used to denote making distinctions or separations. In Genesis 1, during the creation narrative, God separates light from darkness, waters from waters, and land from sea, emphasizing His creative act of making distinctions.

In Nehemiah 9:2, the Israelites are described as having "separated themselves from all foreigners." This act of separation was a response to their acknowledgement of sins and the desire to stand apart for the worship and service of God. It was a commitment to live in accordance with God's commands, distinct from the practices of the surrounding nations.


This prompts reflection on our consecration. How intentional are we in separating ourselves from influences that may hinder our relationship with God? Are there aspects of our lives that need to be consecrated for a more dedicated walk with God?

In what ways can we practically and purposefully set ourselves apart for God's service, ensuring that our lives reflect a consecrated commitment to follow His ways amidst the influences of the world?

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