I Peter 4:1-5 (New Living Translation)
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had and be ready to suffer too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy–their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties and their terrible worship of idols. Of course your former friends are very surprised when you no longer join them in the wicked things they do and they say evil things about you. But just remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.
This week I have heard from many believers of how friends, even those of them who profess Christ, have distanced themselves because of the believer’s stand in the righteousness of Christ. In hearing this I have become excited not about the withdrawal of friends but about the maturing stand of you believers who are settling more in your walk with Christ.
In our former lives as unbelievers we too as Paul states in I Corinthians 6:11 “such were some of you,” have been partakers of a lifestyle that excluded God and we were alienated from the household of God having many friends who were even as we were. Once we accepted Christ and came into covenant with Him our lives changed. We became new people therefore the old way of life conflicted with the new so we let go of it. In letting it go many of the associates of our past left as well. It wasn’t that we cut them off but that they cut themselves off from us. They didn’t want to hear nor be partakers of the life we chose in Christ. Many to most of us could and can understand that so we go on praying for them that they too would come to know the saving grace of Christ to walk in this blessedness that we have in Him.
What some of the believers whom I’ve talked with this week are struggling with is the desertion of professing Christians who say they are walking with Christ. The believer themselves are being settled and established by the Holy Spirit which means that the Holy Spirit is doing a conforming into the image of Christ work. In other words the believers are growing up.
These believers are finding it strange that professing believers are not excited about what appears to be a new thing that the Lord by His Spirit is doing in them and are somewhat perplexed by the change of them who once enjoyed sharing Christ with them.
What we did not touch on in our Too Much God post will be touched on here. Many times withdrawal comes not because you have too much God but that he who withdraws has too less of God and more of self.
Always in the presence of God we will see ourselves. In receiving what we see we make the choice to either change or keep what we see. I’ve had professing Christians say to me, “I like what God is doing in you but, I’m not ready for this kind of change in my life. “In other words what that person was saying is that he or she enjoys what they are doing and do not want to let it go for what God is offering.
There are some who are content with the limitlessness of God in their lives. Some are content with occasional experiences of God. As long as they go to church, hear the word but don’t apply it, sing a few songs and shakes the pastor’s hand they are content. But is God content with it? Though He may not be, the Lord will not force Himself on anyone and the honest truth is; it is not God who is missing out but the contented believer who is.
What we do in such cases is continue to grow and continue to pray for those who have deserted us. The one amazing thing about the family of God is that the Lord always replaces with another when others turn away.