I pray that your heart's desire is to delight in God, please God, and have Him in the center of your life! For you to want to live that life of worship towards your Savior.
"I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1
We all know this is not an easy task especially when it means to strive for holiness(1 Peter 1:16), but not only is it worth living that life of poured out devotion because Jesus literally saved us from eternal damnation, He also promises an endless amount of blessings to pour out on our lives if we follow Him.
" I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" John 10:10
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
To "follow" Jesus requires just what part of speech the word "follow" belongs to: verb = action. I write these things to you so that you can have in perspective your purpose and why you do the things you do or should be doing in Christ and with Christ. Because to have Jesus at the center of our lives means to build our lives around Him and in order for us to do something we need to have a motivation and know why we are going to do something. So with that said, I pray that if God is leading you to separate yourself from a friend, a group of friends, or even a family member this will help you in encouraging you to not hesitate any longer.
I will just go over simple things that you can point out to examine your friendships and hopefully answer any questions you may have.
God clearly knows that we are living in the world and that we won't have good company every where we go, but He does know that we do have a say in the friends we choose. So here are some questions you might want to ask yourself to examine your friendships in the hopes to point out some "bad company." Also, pray about all of your friendships, this is extremely important as well as being honest with yourself. Or else you'll pay a price.
1. Friendships With Unbelievers:
" Do not be misled, ' Bad company corrupts good character.' " 1 Corinthians 15:33
- Are or is there anyone that every time you hang out with them you end up adapting their bad habits? Some examples are cursing, lying, joking in a harsh or cruel manner, disrespecting parents, listening to bad worldly songs.
- Are or is there anyone who tempts you to go back to your old life and live "as your old self" (Colossians 3:1-11)?
- Meditate on your friendships and ask yourself, "is there anyone who is having a bad influence on me"? instead of you being a good influence on them?
Needless to say that these friends might be a problem! Especially in our pursuit for holiness and in our walk with God.
" But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today", that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
" We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you to and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:12
- Are or is there anyone who does not point you to Christ? or make you feel discouraged about living the life of abandonment for Christ?
Usually these friends are the ones that are always questioning about God or just simply are not interested in anything more with Christ then to accept Him as their savior, and we all know that there is so much more to Jesus Christ than just accepting Him! (John 10:10)
- Are or is there anyone that doesn't encourage you "to walk in a manner worthy of God" ? or does not encourage you in following Jesus?
Friendships that are not encouraging you to be active in your walk with God are most likely only there to be a distraction in your walk with God.
- Think of all of your friends and ask yourself, "If I was going through a distressing and painful time in my life, what advice would _____ give me?" or if you needed advice on a conflict you are currently in, Is the advice godly wisdom or is it "wisdom" from the world? Do the/she point you to any other thing that is not God? If so, you need to re-consider who you call your friends, or at least your close ones.
It is strongly suggested you don't count that person as a close friend or anyone you would go to for advice, they could be a factor in your fall when and if it comes because they pointed you towards a bad path, direction, or hole.
So these are very simple questions you can ask yourself but they will go a long way if you are completely honest with yourself and if you let the Holy Spirit guide you in pointing you to some friendships you might need to separate yourself from. I do want to reassure you that this does not mean you are going to completely ignore them! Just make sure you keep a good distance between you and whoever that person may be in order to make sure your relationship with God, or whatever the reason God puts in your heart, won't be hindered. Who knows, God may lead you to completely stop talking to them all together.
- What about my best friend? or close friends that I have known for years!? That we have shared such touching, sweet memories?
Well, prioritize. Are they more important than your relationship with GOD? More important than Jesus? No they are not! But, I do know why anyone would be reluctant to let go of these friendships. Sometimes we just need to change the friendship by changing the purpose of it. Not your friend to change, (if you haven't shared the gospel with them will its a no-brainer that you should do so) but you need to change. If this person is making you stumble in anyway then you either need to have the self-control to not stumble anymore or ask God to show you how to let go of this friendship or distance yourself. Simple, not easy.
2.What about my friends who are unbelievers? How am I suppose to share with them the love of Christ?
First of all, some how many of us have fallen into the lie and/or convinced ourselves that we can change our friends. Well, you are not God. He is the only one that can change anyone and if you really want your friend/s to change I suggest you heed into the power of prayer! Being an example (this goes back to what I was saying earlier about you being a good influence on them not the other way around with them being the bad influence on you) to your unbelieving friends is an excellent way to make an impact in their lives, just by seeing how much God has transformed your life. They will notice when you no longer have your old, bad habits clinging in your character and way of life. Most importantly, hopefully, they'll be able to notice how much more fulfilling your life has turned around to be because of Christ.
Jerry suggested something very important, he said that even though you may not feel so close to Christ right now and feel all the much closer to your friends/best friends it might be hard to let go of these friendships and distant yourself, but Jesus Christ is the only one that could fulfill every need in your soul.
Jesus is like that fountain of living water while your friends, because they too are broken and human, are the broken cisterns that hold no water. Avoid that by being wise with who you pick as your friends and who you surround yourself with.
"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. " Jeremiah 2:13
Oh boy, here I go again writing a longer post than I intended, but hopefully it was all worth it. I sure hope I was able to encourage anyone into making a smart choice when it comes to your friendships, also this is not something you can change over night. Pray about it :) Love y'all!