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What About My Friends?


When Friends Lead You Astray From God

(1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NKJV) Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." {34} Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

(James 4:4-5 NKJV) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. {5} Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?

(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? {15} And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? {16} And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." {17} Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." {18} "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."

These verse are amongst the hardest in the Bible and they are there for a purpose. It is very easy to end up in relationships or alliances that are really counterproductive to our Christian faith. We are heading one way and they are heading another. Lets review these verse carefully. 1. Bad company corrupts good habits. This is an easily observed commonplace fact. Many new Christians try to keep company with people who are sexually immoral or drunken or greedy or ambitious and the pressure from these friendships soon draws them away from their relationship with Christ and back into the world. Recognize bad company - and avoid it.

2. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. There are three main enemies of God - and of Christians. Those enemies are "the world, the flesh and the devil". By the world the Bible means "Vanity Fair" the place where people clamber to get up the ladder, gain honors and be thought of as special without any reference to God or to eternity.

(1 John 2:15-17 NKJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. {17} And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."

Living for material gain, worldly status or sensual pleasure is what we call worldliness. It is incompatible with the Spirit of God. You cannot think and act "like everyone else" and be God's friend.(Romans 12:1,2) You cannot live for this world and for heaven at the same time. Possessions are not the stuff of the Kingdom of God.

3. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This passage is often quoted to say that Christians should not marry non-Christians. That is certainly true. We should only marry "in the Lord". However it is of broader application than that. This passage says that we are not to "yoke ourselves with" that is get into partnerships or close friendships with unbelievers where it is necessary that we "pull in the same direction". This may include boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, close friendships, some business arrangements and anything where we could be compromised by the friendship. The spiritual nature of unbelievers is that they are controlled people. (Ephesians 2:1-4) They are controlled by "Belial", the Devil, and he can "push their buttons" from time to time so that they do what he wants ‘despite themselves". This makes the partnership very unwise for Christians.

Satan wants to "steal, kill and destroy" the people of God (John 10:10) and you have foolishly placed yourself right alongside someone who the Devil can control to do you maximum harm. That person may not will you any harm now but their weakness and vulnerabilities mean that they can "fall into sin" and take you with them. They do not have the strength to resist a strong temptation from the Evil One. This is a hard lesson to learn because many unbelievers are nice, attractive people. Older Christians have often learned this lesson the hard way and many will tell you of the pain they have suffered. You are not judging the person by denying the relationship. You are obeying God and He promises you and even better relationship if you follow Him.

(2 Cor 6:16-18 NKJV)"For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." {17} Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." {18} "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."

The application of this requires courage and wisdom. Courage to make the break from damaging relationships and wisdom in how and when to do it and with what words. Putting distance between yourself and the person does not mean an entire rejection of their personality. You are not to hate anyone. You are to love them with a cautious and wise love that refuses to get involved beyond the boundaries set by God.

Read the next article in the series - "Loving Your Neighbor"

Other articles in this series include:

1. How To Be Sure You Really Are A Christian
2. How To Read The Bible
3. How To Pray
4. What Is God Like?
5. What Has Happened To Me?
6. Meeting God's People
7. Breaking Free From Sin
8. What About Heaven and Hell?
9. What About My Friends?
10. Loving Your Neighbor

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