Whenever I move into a new place or location, I always look at my neighborhood and the environment my neighbors have created. Before buying a house, my wife and I would knock on neighbors’ doors and introduce ourselves. We would ask simple questions such as:
- “What are the neighbors like?”
- “How social is everyone?”
- “What is the crime situation here?”
It does not take long to reveal the hidden secrets and the skeletons in the cupboard. We also look at how the neighbors live. Do they take pride in their gardens? Do they talk to each other? Do they greet each other? Do they litter? Is their yard covered with old tires and broken vehicles? Do they place burglar bars on their doors and windows? Do they welcome strangers? Do they share our values? Will this be a safe place for our children? And so on.
All of these things give us insights into what is going on in the neighborhood.
If what we discover does not match what the realtor is telling us, we will question the realtor’s motives and probably move on.
The same principle applies to spiritual neighborhoods. There is the law of attraction in which like attracts like. Crime attracts crime. Gangsters attract gangsters. Laziness attracts laziness. Evil attracts evil. Political ideology attracts like ideology. Greed attracts the greedy, and good attracts good.
This is why you want to be careful about discerning what the force of attraction is in a neighborhood. In the same way, you need to discern what the force of attraction is in your spiritual life?
- Is it Jesus Christ alone?
- Is it God alone?
- Is it fascination for things mystical or occult, or rejection, or a desire to be on a stage?
Any quality within us that is not of God will attract to us that which is not of God. Any quality within us that is not of God will attract us to spiritual neighborhoods that are not of God. This is why it is vital that we teach and encourage purity, holiness and right relationship with the Heart of God first and foremost and above all else. Otherwise, we will attract spiritual / psychic gangsters, manipulators and deceivers who posture as Christ-like realtors of spiritual property.
Many spiritual leaders are shaped by their spiritual neighborhood in much the same way that our physical neighborhoods will shape our lives, relationships and thinking. Many prophecy and preach from the context of their spiritual neighborhood rather than from the heart of God because there is a symbiotic attraction between their quality of heart and soul, and their spiritual neighborhood. Likewise, their followers will be people who share the same attractions to the same kind of neighbors. Like attracts like. Neighbors attract each other, both spiritually and physically. Deceivers attract the deceived.
When you live in God’s neighborhood, you attract those who genuinely want to live in His neighborhood. If you live in God’s neighborhood, you can only speak from and about the things that are on the Heart of God, because what is in you will resonate with what is in Him. If you are not resonating with His heart and His will, you need to ask if you are in God’s neighborhood or another one.
May God help you to discern these things and choose your neighborhoods wisely.