2001-09-25 - Choice of Company
Psalm 26:4,5 I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
The Question: "I hope that you keep doing more of those questionnaires. I fall short in most of them, and I don't want to. I'm 17 years old, and this year has been my worst ever. I lost my aunt on February 17th, my Mom step-dad and I drove all night to see her before she died. I shared the gospel to her, 25 hours later, she passed, and I hope with all my heart she let Christ in. I pray everyday that she did. Since then, my life has gone down hill. If she saw the way I live right now, she would have turned away from me asking why I of all people are talking to her about a man who should run her life, but not mine. I wish I could cry out to God, but then my friends will wonder what this change in me is, and the beginning of my senior year will be the same as my junior year. My friends seem to matter more to me then the man who died for me. He did it all, and my friends would never die for me. So why do they matter so much more then my Lord?"
I am thankful for your question because I know we have many High School students on this list. This is something I am very thankful for. Ya'll are the future and getting grounded in your walk with Christ now can only be a blessing to you in the future. But I think that this question on who we hang out with is one of great importance for all of us. I know I failed miserably in this area when I was in High School. This is a good question.
I think there are two kinds of friendships for the Christian. The first is what I would call general friendships. These might be the people you work with, are in a club or society with, eat lunch with, or in many ways engage in civil relationships that are not based on a spiritual connection. We all have these relationships. The second form of friendships or relationships are those that are based on a special spiritual union that results, at its best, in a blessed communication between souls so united. The exchanges of Christian love, affection, and spiritual refreshments are such that words cannot begin to express the depth that these relationships can bring.
So we have two kinds of relationships set before us. Which would you like to emphasize? Don't answer yet, there is more. I would submit that it is possible to spend weeks, months, even years with the first sort of friends and never speak a word of a spiritual nature. Relationships that are not based on things of a spiritual nature have a tendency to be shallow and never even broach subjects of an eternal nature. A Christian who is focused on such relationships and hiding his/her light does so at his/her own peril, Matthew 5:14-16.
One thing I am not telling you to do here is ditch your friends. Nor am I suggesting that you get a T-shirt with a big cross on it, buy a 98 pound Bible, and bring it to school everyday so everyone can see the true you. That isn't the true anyone. However, you might begin to share, slowly, with your friends what you really believe. If they are really your friends, they will still be your friends as you open up and express what you believe.
I think that you will also need someone to talk to that is a Christian. You might look around your church and seek out a woman a little older and a little more grounded in the Christian faith who you can talk to about these things. She might be someone who can pray with you and give you some practical support as you try to reach out to your friends. You will need this and maybe if you can't decide on someone your pastor might have some ideas. We don't live this Christian life alone and if we try we are bound to struggle at best, and at worst, our faith will grow cold and die. The body of Christ (the church) is there to support, encourage, and strengthen us in situations like you are in. Take full advantage of it.
One of the reasons I have not suggested that you, "go out and get some new friends," if the ones you have are bringing you down, is because I am aware that such a sacrifice is probably unreasonable to someone beginning their senior year of High School. But I never mince words. You know your situation and you know your lifestyle and it may be that you must, for the sake of eternity and your precious soul, make some drastic changes in your life. Only you know. And frankly, this is true for all of us. We all need to evaluate who we spend time with and the influence they are or might be having on our lives. Don't be fooled, the Bible is clear and we know it all to well by experience, "Bad company corrupts good morals." 1 Corinthians 15:33
My suggestion to you and to everyone in a similar situation at work or elsewhere is that you begin to naturally incorporate your faith and convictions into your relationships. There is no need to force feed your beliefs down the throats of your unsuspecting friends. Rather, we ought to let our faith flow naturally from our lives and begin to live our convictions more and more faithfully around our friends. This is why I think you need a woman who is mature in the faith to talk to. You need some accountability and support. We all need this and I would encourage everyone to seek out someone who can help guide us in our struggle to resist the world, the devil, and most of all sin.
Soli Deo Gloria,