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

Even if Alone

photo (4)Following Jesus is hands down the best decision I have ever made. However, I have had times when I was beyond discouraged because it just seemed like I was in this thing all alone. I know some people have always been spiritual and they just had it together at all times, but even people in the bible felt discouraged at times. Elijah wanted to die because of fear of Jezebel (1 Kings 19:4), Jeremiah wanted to give up on his calling but he couldn’t (Jeremiah 20:9), and even the great leader Moses was frustrated and impatient with the people at times (Numbers 11:10-15). So if you ever get weary in your walk, I understand. If they could overcome their temporary afflictions, so can you and I (Romans 8:18).
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
When Jesus called you to follow Him, He did not call your friends or family. There is a separate calling for each and every one of us. Stop trying to take people where God is trying to take you. Sometimes God wants you alone so you can learn to depend and trust Him. Many of us talk to our friends for hours and God for minutes, but God deserves more reverence and honor than we are giving Him. We must also come to a realization that our salvation is not dependent on others either. My pastor, parents or loved ones cannot save me. My salvation is based solely on my relationship with Jesus. I may be surrounded by praying people, but if I don’t pray I will have no connection to God. I may have a great leader in my pastor, but if I do not seek God for myself I will not know Him for myself. God wants each and every one of us to seek Him for ourselves.
I know most people have heard this before, but if you haven’t let me just warn you: when you truly begin to follow Jesus, people will drift away from you. I don’t mean when you attend church regularly, I mean walking like He walked, talking like He talked and eschewing sin like Jesus did. I say that because now you are serving a different Master, so people will not always like that. You want to live right, but they want to let their flesh be in control. If everyone is comfortable with you, then maybe you still have maturing to do. Not saying when people hate you you’re considered Godly, because sometimes people hate our arrogance. I mean light and darkness does not mix, so don’t expect to have a big crowd of friends. Many stopped following Jesus before He came down to twelve followers.
There came a point in Abraham’s walk with God that he was asked to sacrifice the very thing he waited all his life for. That is a true test of faith. God saying, “I gave you this promise, but I want you to give it back now”. When Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac, there was a point when he had to tell some people to wait here while he went up to worship (Genesis 22:5). Abraham understood clearly that the place God wants him is not for everyone’s sight. God wants to do great things to and through us, but he first has to separate us. Being alone is not a bad thing! Let God isolate you so He can elevate you!
Many people choose to follow God when it is convenient for them. They give God a couple of minutes of prayer and half-hearted worship in church when things are going fine. However, whenever they go through hard times or read something in the Bible that contradicts their lifestyle, they just overlook it and do their own thing. Don’t get caught up in this company! Surround yourself with those who have a hunger for God. Yes, some people will call you “deep”, “too holy”, etc. but I rather be an outcast for God than to be cast out later. We want God to be pleased with our lives, we do not need man’s approval.
“I talk about Jesus, all the Christians love me
I walk like Jesus now they wanna judge me, ain’t it funny?” – Andy Mineo

It is very easy for believers to follow and obey Christ when they see others doing it. However, that is not always the case. Many of us are around people who do not obey God and do not even want to obey Him. Trust me, it’s better to avoid that group because they are only hurting you spiritually. I choose to follow Jesus even if no one decides to join me. The three Hebrew boys decided to obey their God even if no one joined them and they did not compromise when their lives were on the line.

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Matthew 8:21-22)
  • When God calls you, don’t go back to dead situations.
  • Stop trying to hold memories of your past life and relationships.
  • Press forward and forget the past (Philippians 3:7-14).
  • You’re a new person in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), so let your old life be crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6).
Trust me, I know this blog is beyond lengthy and I am sorry about that. However, if you read this I know that God has touched your heart in some way or another. Continue to seek God, even if you are alone. No more compromising. Let’s be a generation of God seekers, God bless!
– Tovares Grey

Stay In Pursuit

As Christians, we are called to run a race. I would not call it a sprint, it is more of a marathon. So now that we have accepted the free gift of salvation and the invitation to be a child of God, we have been enlisted into the army of God!
 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT)
Back in ancient times, the Olympics was an extremely popular thing to everyone. Which is why I believe Paul wrote this, for the Corinthian church to be able to relate clearly.
Whether you are overweight or skinny, short or tall, lame or paralyzed, you are in a spiritual race! When you accepted Jesus you decided to stop being idle and run. The way you look physically doesn’t determine your spiritual life or your growth. A man or woman can be dressed in the best suit, outfit, heels and still live a carnal life.
The worlds fastest man at the moment is Usain Bolt, from Jamaica. One may say that Bolt can just beat anyone in a race. I agree to an extent. If Usain dares not to train for months or years, I guarantee someone will come and beat him. Maybe I can as well, maybe not, but you understand the point. Training is everything. “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard” (Tim Notke).
How do I train?

  • An athletes appetite is extremely strict. We must watch what we eat, spiritually. One cheeseburger doesn’t cause a disease. However, if you feed yourself that for yours, you’ll become obese. Likewise in a spiritual sense. If you feed yourself with a tiny sin a day (gossip, lust, fornication, lying, backbiting, etc), you may not be in bad condition. Yet, it will still add up until you are too spiritually overweight and you cannot run any further. The devil doesn’t offer you a ton load of something. He gives you little by little until you are in bondage and you can no longer resist. Feed your spirit with the word of God, prayer, spiritual things. I won’t say every listen to every kind of Christian music today. I once heard a song where the artist was saying “baby”, however the entire CD did not say the name of Jesus, once!
  • Disciplining our body. Jesus said that we are to “deny ourselves”. Does that mean I should say, “I’m not Tovares Grey, I have a code name only God should know”? That would be foolish. We deny ourselves by saying no to our carnal desires. Whatever we feed will grow, whatever we starve will die.
  • Cut off certain ties. Athletes still have family and friends, but they put that behind them when they’re training or in a race……. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. (2 Timothy 2:4 NLT)

In this Christian race, we will have hurdles. Things that you can only go over with Christ. Yes, you may have strong faith and try this scripture: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (Mark 11:23). However, even though that’s a good try, you may not always get an answer. God answers by our faith, but he cannot deliver us from everything, he wants us to take us through them. I know you may say I’m blaspheming and not saying God is able, but let me give you proof:

  • The children of Israel were delivered from their oppression, they saw God work miracles, but yet they still murmured against God. They ended up dying in the wilderness. Why? They were delivered, but their mindsets weren’t delivered.
  • We often want to be delivered from tough situations (Poverty, sickness, ridicule, nonbelievers as family members, etc). Yet, we must know that God wants us to learn in these situations. If you never had a problem, how could you testify that God is a deliverer, protector, provider, healer?
  • The 3 Hebrew boys didn’t care that they would be thrown into the fire, because circumstances didn’t change their God. Their God changes circumstances.
  • Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:67, 71)
  • Embrace afflictions, they will come! (Psalms 34:19)

Our prize is JESUS! I’m sure Heaven will be beautiful. Some things we may even see that weren’t described in the bible. However, Jesus is what we look to at the finish line (Philippians 3:8). If we want to get there we have to persevere through many trials. Sometimes we get worried that we can’t hear God’s voice in the rough times, but you answer me. Have you ever seen a teacher talking to a student during a test, that they prepared them for? Can someone take up your cross for you? Don’t pray for a lighter cross, pray for a broader back to carry it (Anon)!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
I am writing to encourage you, and do not think I say this to scare you. If you look back, you may not get to come back!

  • Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:32)
  • And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

Once saved, always saved is equivalent to once shaved, always shaved. You must know Christianity is a everyday thing, not a service thing. It is about a relationship with Christ, not a religion.
Keep running, don’ stay on the fence. Run with endurance, don’t overwhelm yourself. Share this, help someone! God bless you!

-Tovares Grey