Today I had the chance to celebrate with some friends from our church. They will be moving due to the army and in the middle of all that they will be trying to get married! I think that makes for some stress. In light of that, we grilled some food, enjoyed amazing company and I was reminded of the power of friendship in our lives.
I would like to say I am a good friend by keeping up with everybody’s home life, kids, jobs, interests and tragedies. I would love to say that, but I can’t. I don’t do enough calling and staying current. However, there is more to friendship than information. If the quality of our friendships could be evaluated by how much we know about each other, any social media user would truly have “friends forever,” as the song goes. I have come to see is not what I know, but how I came to know what I know about my friends that makes our friendships rich and memorable.
I have fond memories and can still feel the lasting effects because of the influence of my friends. They have touched me and in a very real way, they are with me because they have helped to shape the person I have become. I would not be who I am had it not been for the impact of their lives on mine. I am and will be eternally grateful for my friends, those who chose to walk together with me for as long as our life paths allowed.
What happens when we make life decisions that make a change in the way that we live our lives? It is hard to change the way that we do things. How much more difficult can those changes be for our families and friends? If we have Christian family we should consider ourselves blessed. But, there are many who make a decision for Christ and are pushed out by the those that they love. It is not an easy thing to chose Christ. The way may appear to be simple, but the journey can cost us in areas that we could not imagine.
To live the Christian life, to live it as it is meant to be lived will require difficult choices. And these choices are difficult because some of the choices may require us to change the circle, or circles, of influence in our lives. A circle of influence consists of those individuals that we listen to and trust. The reason that a change may need to be made is not because the person is bad, but because our values have changed. The reasons and motivations of our lives have changed and if someone does not share these things with us then something will give. Something must give. Having said this, it does not mean that you must let go forever or even at all. What changing circles means is that the ear that at one time was ready to hear must now filter words and intentions that do not agree with the Word of God.
…Must Be Made…
It begins with hearing the truth of the Gospel and all of a sudden the conviction of the Holy Spirit moves us to make a profession. We confess our sins, accept Jesus as Lord and are baptized, joining a local body of believers. Then we go and share what has happened because this was such a wonderful thing that has just happened, but we do not get the reaction that we wanted or expected. We are left to wonder whether or not the decision that we made was the right one because the ones that have helped and counseled do not seem to agree with us. It is here that the we reach a crossroads where the difficult decision is made.
A choice must be made because we cannot continue in our old ways of doing things. It must be made because we have been changed and have become new creations in and through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It must be made because if there is to be any chance to be what God would have us to be we must be willing to make the decision and be confident that it is the right thing to do.
…In Order To Grow.
Ultimately the most important relationship that is nurtured in our lives is the one with our Heavenly Father. Because of this it is important to surround ourselves with those individuals that will provide for us the environment, structure, education and encouragement that we need to make our faith a reality. It is possible to have a faith that is not real to us. If faith is mere theory, an idea what we wish we had, it will not be real to us. If what we want is to have a real and living faith we need to do what needs to be done-we need to change circles.
It’s not about hurt feelings, missed friends or a popularity contest. We are talking about our hearts. We are talking about the condition of our souls and the direction of our lives and the lives of our families. It is time to live the choice-you already made it.