One in Christ
The more time I spend walking with the Lord, the more I realize a shift in the people around me. This change in company isn’t a conscious decision, but it has become pretty obvious over time.
The people who surround me are not always like me. They’re in many ways different (or even my opposite) in personality, interest, and in gifting.
I’ve been wrestling with why this is. Growing up, I would always join those exactly like me. The ones who shared my similar interests and who acted similarly to me were the ones who would be in my corner. No correction, no friction, this equals a perfect friendship. Right?
But as I grow with the Lord, I recognize a pattern has developed. It’s almost as if I subconsciously choose those who cause me a little bit of discomfort.
When Jesus is our common ground, when Jesus is our mutuality, we stop trying to befriend the people who have our same hobbies and temperaments. There is a shift, and our friendships bring us back around to Him.
Our goal becomes spreading the good news, growing in our giftings, walking in our callings, and becoming more like Jesus. We don’t need carbon copies of ourselves as friends to accomplish these things. We need those who will challenge us, stretch us, disagree with us, confront us with truth, and love us through hard things. When you’re on the same mission, you don’t have to be the same.
Walk with the wise and become wise
The quickest way to go backwards in the progress Jesus has made in your heart is to surround yourself with those who do not sharpen you.
When you’re trying to look like Jesus, the things you look for in close friends change. They have to change. You will start to look like those you are around no matter what. If you’re around those who gossip, eventually you will gossip. If you’re surrounded by those who complain, soon you will find yourself constantly complaining. If you are around those who want to dig deeper into scripture, you will find yourself engaged in life giving conversation. If you are around those who love others without restraint, you will see yourself loving without restraint.
Our character, our sanctification, so much of it depends on who we pilgrim through this life with. We are by nature those who begin looking like the people we spend our time with and those we admire. God knew this. And that’s why he called us into relationship with one another with this disclaimer: bad company corrupts good character.
We can choose wisely not based on common interests or mutuality in small things, but based on those whose eyes are fixed on our goal: looking more like Jesus.