We’ve all been close to friends who once walked with the Lord but have faded off into different lifestyles. I wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that many of us have done the same.
Sadly, I’ve noticed my own generation excusing ourselves during seasons of disobedience. It seems we have bought into a “Christian” version of finding ourselves, where we experiment with sin to see if it’s truly better than following the Lord.
I would attribute the lack of strong Christian relationships as a leading cause. In order to help us be there for those who are faltering to temptation, let me pose three questions to ask our friends (or ourselves!).
- Are you joyful? During seasons of disobedience it’s easy to feel weighed down. This happens because our identity in Christ is in direct conflict with our uncharacteristic actions. There can be no peace where we are stirring up tension between following Christ and following our own desires. Sin may produce fun results for a season, but it will never satisfy like joy in Christ.
- Are you fearful? Disobedience can often lead to unhealthy and unbiblical levels of fear. These fears could be of unfortunate circumstances or God’s discipline. They often spiral into wondering if God will “spite” me for the wrongs I’ve done or if my life will drastically fall apart because of my selfish actions. Pure, honest, and obedient living will always give you peace about what God will allow in your life because you know that You are not fighting against His will for you.
- Is there something bigger going on than just behavior? This will probably be a “yes” almost every time. Maybe your friends are going through a struggle and they are bitter towards God. Maybe they were never really saved and are starting to express their lack of conversion. Possibly, he or she is in need of a Christian friend who offers positive peer pressure. The reasons could be endless, but we are called to be a reflection of Christ’s love and friendship no matter what.
As always, pray for wayward friends, and we must be careful to remember that we are never too good to stumble in our walks with the Lord (1 Cor. 10:12, Gal. 6:1-2).