Have you ever been in a situation where your friends were pulling you away from the Lord? Maybe they’re not the best influence in your life? I’ve been there myself and so has another reader wondering what she should do in her situation.
Here’s her story…
I am 21, and I was saved by the Lord a few months ago. I am a college student trying to strengthen my faith and grow in the Lord, but I feel that the friends I have are not in the place to accept Jesus as their Savior, and they are beginning to hinder my faith. Do I start separating myself from them? You mentioned you went through a similar experience. Do you have any advice or guidance to offer me so I can grow in my faith as a new believer?
Jolene: Oh, beautiful, beautiful message! Praise the Lord that you are now a new creation in Christ and Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
Yes, I did go through a very similar experience. I was not surrounded by Christians. I didn’t come from a Christian family. So here I am newly saved and I’m trying to grow in the Lord but those around me are not believers. Really they’re scoffers. They weren’t interested in receiving Jesus as their Lord.
I didn’t have anyone tell me what was taking place. I just saw that when I was around them I could see my tendency for my faith to kind of weaken. Or maybe I would make some compromising decisions. I didn’t realize at the time that it was my flesh that still kind of wanted what the flesh wanted. They weren’t building me up in the Lord.
I also went through that with my family members because they were against me becoming saved. So there were times where I didn’t show up to stuff because I didn’t feel strong enough in the Lord and in my beliefs and I certainly didn’t know the Word of God.
So I had to step back and that’s what I did with my friends. I started stepping back further and further away from them and I can tell you it was a very lonely time for me. I lived alone and I went to work. I came home and that was it.
As far as church life, there wasn’t even a whole lot of that there because I was kind of like church shopping. Going from one church to the next, still trying to figure out, you know, how can I learn about this man named Jesus?
So yes, I had a very isolated life but I removed myself because I thought, “Well, these people aren’t open to hearing about what I have to say.” If anything, they were discouraging me. So there’s a time and place, as you grow in the Lord you will realize what’s best.
I’m not here to say by any means, get rid of all your non-Christian friends but when they’re pulling you down then that’s the time to step away and for you to become grounded in the Word of God. You know, plug yourself into Bible study. Plug yourself into the church life. Be diligent in seeking as much as you can because those things will feed your understanding of the Word.
It will feed your spirit. So when your spirit grows more and you’re stronger in the faith then it’s easier for you to then witness to a non-believer. So, my thought is – I tell my teenage sons, “You’re either influencing them or they’re influencing you.”
There’s even Christian women I might be around. They’re believers but there are times that I realize I might become a little more bitter or more the martyr effect because I’m around them and so I would have to remove myself from the situation because they didn’t’ cause me to grow closer to the Lord. They were pulling me back and hindering my faith.
So just use that discernment there.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says: Do not be mislead. Bad company corrupts good character.
So the world would never say break yourself away from your non-Christian friends and I don’t know that you’d hear that in the church that often but the Bible talks about it. You know, if they’re corrupting your character take that step back.
Another few verses that I love that was really kind of my grounding point was Psalm 1:1-2
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord. In his law he meditates day and night.”
So that’s for me a big key of “Hey, I’m not gonna listen to you people who don’t know Jesus.” Why would I listen to some unbeliever? What does light have in common with darkness? So yes, if they’re hindering your faith you take that step back and then turn to the Word. You’re to delight in the law of the Lord. Meditate on it day and night so you can become stronger so you can say in your heart, “That’s not what the Word says.” You’ll be able to discern more. And you’ll be able to influence better. And you’re gonna influence them toward Christ.
Right now they may have you in a compromising position and especially since you’re a college student. You probably have professors that are outright hostile toward the Christian faith. So if you have to walk alone where it’s just you and Jesus for a time, well that’s still better than walking with scoffers.
Eric: Right, and if she can find a good church she needs to just start looking for godly friends.
Jolene: Absolutely! And pray for them! Absolutely pray for them and the Lord will bring them to you in due time but yes, pull yourself away. I’m not saying fully cut off, but you know, when you get that phone call and they’re like, “Hey, do you want to go clubbing?” Your answer is most likely gonna to be no because that’s not who you are anymore. That’s your old life but they don’t get it. They’re unsaved so they don’t understand.
As you grow in the Lord there’s nothing wrong with calling up a friend of the past and ask them if they want to go for coffee. You set the terms. You decide what’s appropriate for your life. Just because they’re all doing it and mocking you and saying these things doesn’t mean you have to fall in line with it, and you’re not some bad Christian ‘cause you’re not hanging out with them. You’re actually a very wise Christian because you’re protecting your walk. So those are my thoughts on it.
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