Friends play an important role in our lives as we grow and develop from children into teens and then to adults.
What do I do when my friends don’t go to church, they don’t speak the lingo, and they don’t know that I’m a Christian?
Follow His Example
Always remember, regardless of what any friend, teacher or parent may say, the best thing we can ever do is take the example of Jesus. If we do this we will never go wrong.
Let’s look at what Jesus did:
As He went along, He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the booth. “Follow Me,” He said to him. And he got up and followed Him. As Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s home, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. When the experts in the law and the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this He said to them, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Notice that Jesus called someone that was classified as a sinner. Not only that, but one of the worst kind! Jesus didn’t play hero to the rich and famous or to the clean, prim and proper. And even more so, He was often found in the company of the outcast or the unwelcomed. It didn’t bother Him that people were saying “how could someone like You be sitting with someone like them?”
What If ..
Imagine if He did exactly what everyone expected of Him, save those who were worthy or already knew that He was the Messiah… Instead, fully aware of His assignment from the Father, He went to the sick, the hurting, the lost, the dying, and that is where we are sent as well.
My brother and sister, the very reason that we are Christians (Liberty in Jesus Christ) is the same reason why we should be beside our friends that they may see and know Christ.
HOW ELSE WILL THEY KNOW CHRIST?
You see, Christ knew His assignment was to come into the world to show the way. He is the way.
The church is a hospital for the sick! But how can they see Christ if they never set foot in a church simply because of all the antagonism, criticism and hypocrisy lurking in its dark corners, and sometimes blatantly in the face? How can they see Jesus if we don’t show them the way?
Let Them See Jesus
BUT if I may, there is a great problem with the way most of us spend time with our friends. Jesus, although amongst the unwanted, eating and drinking, still composed Himself in such a way that it brought them to question if He was a man or the promised Messiah. If He had mixed in with the crowd and assimilated himself to the point where He was “one of the guys”, His ministry would have had little impact.
So as long as you fit in with the crowd and be “one of the guys”, they will never see Jesus. Jesus will be the best kept secret of your life…the total opposite of what He did on the cross. Publicly He said I choose you! Publicly we say…I choose me!
Show His Love
We need to bring ourselves to the point where we are able to understand and live with the gentleness and love of Christ, staying with our friends, yet not afraid to be different. So often we just long to be accepted that we are afraid to do anything that would jeopardize our acceptance by our friends, especially if it entails talking about Jesus.
Luke 7:34 says:
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”
So as the Son of Man came eating, drinking and associating with sinners and tax collectors, so we too should learn from His example. Not that we should go drink, eat and be merry, but that we should go where there is the greatest opportunity for Jesus to be heard, and once there, show His love.
Bring Jesus Along
Enjoy the company of friends, but don’t forget what your assignment in being there is. Don’t get so lost in the conversation that you forget to hold back when it gets out of hand. Don’t get so lost in the eating, drinking and associating that you forget about your best kept secret!