To this day, I’m not sure what happened. I had been sitting at home alone during my high school years. Tired and bored of playing old playstation games, I was hoping to hang with one of my best friends and go to a movie. I called his house and his sister picked up with an awkward pause. All my close friends from High School had gone somewhere and completely neglected to call me. I go back and forth between whether I think it was because they were going somewhere they knew I wouldn’t go or because I was a massive killjoy in social situations. At no point would I say during high school I represented my faith boldly, but it was known and I was trying to grow in it. If I wasn’t at school or rowing I was at church. For whatever reason, they had gone to a place my faith would have made me feel uncomfortable. Even in my spiritual infancy, there was the understanding that I couldn’t be there. With all my friends gone, I felt like a Pariah.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God
– 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NIV
When two things are yoked together, they direct the path of the other one. This only works when the two are moving in unison together. When they are not, it is a source of conflict and tension as the two cannot go in different directions. For the believer and the unbeliever, our flesh still craves to go the direction of sin, running counter to our new life.
Leaving The Old Friends Behind
We should still interact with non-Christians. I am not claiming that there should be no connection between the Christians and non-Christians. However, the idea of being equally yoked implies that each person has full say in the direction. In truth, as we come to Christ and those around us have not yet come to Christ, we become different from them. Can I really continue to live my previous life if I fully grasp the depth of God’s salvation? Knowing that Christ died on the cross for my sins, I cannot go back to the places I once went. Christ redeemed me from the old life.It is a badge of honor that your faith is noticeable to others. Click To Tweet
When following Christ, there will be a distance between our friends and ourselves. Some of it will be self imposed, but a majority of it will be handed to us. Jesus makes people uncomfortable, as He should. The presence of Jesus is toxic to the fleshly nature and our unredeemed spirit treat the presence of God as an allergy. Thus, when we choose to allow the presence of God to move through us, those who do not follow Christ will be hesitate to bring us to the places they know we should not be. Christ changes us. The world notices. and some will push us away.
The New Life Is Here
However painful it may feel to be the Pariah of the friend group, understand this. It is a badge of honor that your faith is noticeable to others. Those who know you see something different. They see the effect that God is having on your life and how the presence of God is changing and shaping your very identity. The evidence of your faith is seen in what you do and do not do. Your friends, in a backwards way, sincerely care by not wanting to drag you into a place or put you in a position they know you can’t go. They see the evidence of the new life but may not be ready to follow it yet.Live your life to show those around you the power of the Gospel. Click To Tweet
You will feel like a Pariah and an outcast, but do not fear this new life. The new life is refreshing, redeemer, and invigorating through every ounce of your soul. Christ has redeemed you fully and completely. Furthermore, you are never alone. There will be a strain with the friends but you have gained a deep family whose spiritual bond is based in the victory of Jesus Christ and cannot be undone. Lament, feel sad, and pray for your old friends, but live your life to show them the power of the Gospel.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t done so, go back and read the Series on Hope. Grab a few friends, go get coffee, and work through the questions together, and when you are ready, return to this series.
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