Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why You Need Diversity in Friendships

One of the biggest blessings in my life are my believing friends. I have some great, very close friends who love Christ and His church. Some of them are in vocational ministry, many serve as volunteers. They have been great helps and supports for me. I made great friends in seminary, many in churches I have attended or served in and some out in the world as we have crossed paths. Having your closest friends be in like faith and spirit is very, very important. You need to have great Christian friends to encourage you, study with you, pray with you and fellowship. I am thankful for those who have been friends for years and some who I have just met. They are vital for my survival as a Christian. You need to be with and around other Christians, together you make up the body of Christ. You are a family, a team, a unit, a single functioning organism to do the ministry and work of Christ on earth. If you are a Christian without a church, a group of believing friends, then you are failing. Get to church, connect with some believing friends and be supported.

You will undoubtedly have friends who have similar beliefs that you do but are not part of the same local church you attend. Some are closer and some are more distant. These people are also vital. We need to remember the kingdom is not an exclusive club. In matters of theology and practice, there may be disagreements. I have friends who are pedobaptists (baptize babies) but I'm a credobaptist (believers baptism by immersion). We disagree but it's ok. We can discuss and challenge each other. It's important to have those types of people to help you grow and learn and be challenged.They are great people to have discussion and learn new things from. Stay humble, stay teachable and stay friends.

There are people in your life that may not believe but will be supportive. These are great people, and you can talk to them about what is happening in your life and show your faith in life. They are the people that you will have a chance to share your faith with. Pray for these people that you may gain a believing friend. Share Jesus with them, invite them to church and speak truth to them. Be humble, be kind. These people will teach you about your faith as they ask questions, so stay in the word. Make lots of friends who are not believers but are supportive.

Lastly, you will have friends who disagree and are opposed to your faith. Yes, you can be friends with agnostics, atheists and members of different religious groups. I have friends who don't believe in the same things I believe in, and sometimes we talk and discuss. They stretch me, they push me and they really make me examine what and why I believe. I love my atheist friends, I love my agnostic friends and those who have beliefs outside of the Christian faith. They are valuable, they are people, made in the image of God and they are worth my time. It's important to be kind and gracious. Jesus loved those outside of the Jewish faith, the Apostles loved those who were part of pagan faiths. Some of those who were outside became believers, some didn't. That will be the same with us, some of our friends outside the faith may become believers, some won't. We love them anyway.

As you live in the world, there is more to being salt and light than just attending church and Bible study. We need to be salt and light everywhere at all times. We love people, we interact with people and we share with people. It's what the gospel is all about. Let's love on those around us and the world will be a little nicer for everyone.

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