My Friends Don't Understand my Walk with God

Living for God is such an amazing experience that we get to enjoy daily. He changes our lives from the inside out and delivers us from many things that used to keep our hearts in bondage. Unfortunately, our “friends” don’t always see it that way. What makes it even worse is when our “Christian” friends don’t support us. I can understand a nonbeliever questioning my desire to pray or fast, but not a Christian. I can understand an atheist saying negative things about my attempt at a disciplined life, but not someone in the “church”.
“Bro, you are doing way too much!”
“Girl, chill. Stop acting overly spiritual.”
“Don’t be so ‘heavenly minded’ that you’re no earthly good.”
“I get that you say you want to do right, but all of those things are just leading to legalism or a self-righteous approach of earning God’s love.”
I have heard these things said to me and to others before; but what if I told you that your friend was doing you more harm than good by saying those things? What if they want to help you, but their “good advice” is not “God advice?” What if God is actually calling you into a deeper place of intimacy, but you will never experience it because of your company?
Anyone that makes you feel bad for being passionate about living for God is a distraction from the enemy. It is best to keep a healthy distance and pray for them, instead of having them keep you comfortable in a stagnant walk with God. I am not advocating for foolish or weird behavior, because God will use friends to explain the scriptures to us and tell us when we are viewing things wrong. I am saying that there should be no one in your inner circle that doesn’t want to see you grow into who God is calling you to be.
Let’s look at 3 major things every believer should do when their friends don’t support their walk with God:
1. Examine your friends.
I’m just going to make this plain, everyone isn’t meant to be your close friend. Jesus is our example of how to love and treat others, and even Jesus had an inner circle. Jesus preached to masses, did life with 12 disciples, and yet He only called Peter, James and John for certain situations. Did he love them more than the others? No, not at all, but He had a different purpose for them and possibly a deeper level of intimacy with them.
If your friends stop you from growing, then you two must address it or slowly drift apart. If your friends are struggling with the same issues as you, then accountability is hard. Instead of having the wisdom to help you out of it or the boldness to rebuke you in love, they will give you a pass (because they are struggling).
So again, check if your friends are growing and keeping you accountable. If they aren’t, they should not be in your inner circle.

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, WITH THEM that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

2. Challenge your friends!
This is something many never do because of fear, but why be afraid if the person wants to be in your life? Jesus had a rich, young ruler coming to him that seemed to have it all together. Jesus gave him one command, to sell his possessions and give it to the poor. However, the guy didn’t do it, and he went away sorrowful. What I find interesting about this is that Jesus never chased behind him. Too many of us are running behind people that God is not sending to us. If they aren’t willing to meet certain standards or to make any sacrifices, they aren’t willing to be in your life. If you are only valuable to them when it is convenient for them, that is not the will of God for your circle. Stop thinking you can’t push your friends to grow with you. If you aren’t doing so, you aren’t a good enough friend to them.
If I cannot tell you that you’re living beneath your purpose, I don’t love you. I should be able to genuinely say “get it together, you’re better than that” without it being taken as judgment. If you don’t have friends that do that, challenge them to challenge you. Pray for God to send people who will push you!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)

3. Be willing to find friends that don’t look or think like you.
This may sound simple, but this is one of the hardest tasks for a person. We will always naturally gravitate to those who look or think like us. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or sports; we will feel more at ease when the person we are conversing with has things in common with us. Like for me, I have a few friends that act just like me. We can laugh and joke literally all day. The problem with that though is they will have my same issues so they may not pull me out of my spiritual valley. It wasn’t until recently when I started making friends with people who are of different races, denominations, financial status, various cultures, etc. that I hadn’t seen some things with a clear perspective. That’s like me being a guy with a Jamaican background and not going out to eat a lot when I was younger. So now when my wife and I want to go out or friends invite us out to eat, I don’t even know what to pick. Not because I’m super picky, I’m just not familiar with a lot and in need of someone to expose me to it.
How much is God trying to show you, but you aren’t able to see because it looks unfamiliar? How many people has God sent your way to push you into purpose, but you ignored them for being too “churchy”, “different” or too “weird”? Jesus gave Ananias clear instructions on what to do in Paul’s conversion. However, he knew how Paul used to persecute the church. God had to take him out of his comfort zone in order for Paul to be delivered, because he was possibly afraid of the things Paul would do to him. People may not be used to you or you with them, but you need others in order for you to be who God called you to be.

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15 ESV)

Your environment will play a major role in determining your destiny. God wants to bless your life and it requires the right people on your team and the wrong people can delay that calling. Not only can they delay purpose, but bad company will corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

The Show is Over

Lights… Camera… Action! The show has begun and the audience expects a good performance. You cannot afford to fail with all these people coming to watch you entertain them. After all, they didn’t have to watch you right? Make sure everyone has on their costumes and that replacements are in place. We must please the people that have come to the “show”!
Many will read that and think I am referring to a movie or a play, but I am actually referring to the Modern Church. It seems at times that the place where God once inhabited is now a circus or an amusement park. Remember that place where we actually went and out of respect kept quiet in church and listened to the pastor? Yeah, I am not sure what happened but it’s now the place where people use their phones during service. Are the people coming to worship God or to be restored? Not all the time, it’s more of a social thing. “I had to get out the house, it was too much arguing.” Or when you knew the people would treat you with love, but you sometimes go and feel rejected and isolated?
Let’s not forget the competition that takes place within ministry! “I sing better than you!”, “I preach better than you!”, “You’re not even saved, I pray and you never do!”, “He/she doesn’t deserve to be our leader, I work harder than them. This church is bias!” Or the people that only show up when there’s a big turn out? Not too interested in prayer services, bible study, or even practice. They just enjoy the spotlight given on Sunday. Sad to say, but most times it’s because they want to see who’s coming, who’s wearing what, and if the preacher can make me feel good. You know, when I can attend service enough to make it into Heaven, but not too much where I feel conviction and might have to actually change my lifestyle?
Am I targeting anyone or any church? Of course not! I need grace just like everyone else, I am just pointing to the bigger picture! If we are not careful, we can so easily lose sight of Jesus. We can attend church faithfully, and not actually be a follower of Jesus. You and I must wake up everyday asking ourselves, “what can I change to please God more?” You see, it’s easy to turn God’s house into an entertainment center. We do not preach about repentance because it might scare our visitors away. We do not talk about principles God has set because it may cause us to lose members, things such as tithing, holiness, forgiveness, or even Hell. We tend to point just towards grace so much that we give people a false perception of God. God has many attributes, and to make people think He does not get angry or sad by our decisions is total deception.
I honestly believe that every believer will serve Jesus differently. That is simply because He made us differently, that is why I do not believe in comparing anyone or any church. Some people jump and some people stay still. Some people are quiet and some are loud. Even though I believe we should be free and give God everything, I will not say your heart is not pure if you aren’t jumping like me. I just know sometimes it’s necessary to shout with the voice of triumph (Psalm 47:1) or dance and spin (Psalm 118:24); the word rejoice here in Hebrew means to spin in a violent, radical manner. Off topic, but don’t be afraid to worship, who cares what people think?
My point to you is this, God does not want us to dilute His Word to get more people in church. Jesus told people some hard things and at one point it caused many to walk away from Him (John 6:66). He simply separated the fans from the followers! The Gospel and everything God requires will offend people. When you hear it, you will either walk away or follow Jesus, but that is the point. Do not change it to please people. Hurt someone with the truth before you comfort them with a lie (PLEASE, do it in love). So whether you are a minister, pastor, musician, or just someone that goes to church, let it be genuine. God knows our heart and it makes no sense that we try to fool Him. Be open with God and repent if you have to. But we must go back to the heart and true meaning of worship. When it is all about Jesus. I understand we cannot make every service sometimes, we are human; and church attendance does not make us saved, but do not think church is the place to go when you “feel like it”. It’s where we go to worship with the body of Christ, and to be a blessing, not just expect a blessing.
Get the actors off stage, and let church begin. – Kirk Franklin
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:40)