Now if there’s one thing I know, it’s this. Friendships are seasonal. Your family will always be your family forever and your spouse (through a lense of never getting divorced) will always be your spouse, but friends ‘may’ not always be your friends. Friendships can seem like they will last but even forever is a season. God operates in the realm of forever & a day. He has seen the end of the world from the beginning, so much so that the bible tells us in Revelation 13:8 Jesus, ‘the Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world’. Even before we fell, God made provision to draw us back to Him – how incredibly awesome!! So, 10 years for us feels like a mini lifetime but is a mere blink of an eye for God. 2 Peter 3:8 reminds us ‘that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’.
So I’ve come to realise that if I’m even blessed with one day of genuine friendship, I need to get my church shoes and get into a praise break! It is such a blessing to have a true friend by your side at any moment of time, and an even greater blessing if they stay there a while. There are some friends that you find yourself drawing closer to in a season of hardship and others that you find in a season of rejoicing. Some of us have those transcendental friendships that cross through circumstances, geographies and season – what a blessing. Whilst I was serving abroad in South America last year and really going through, God sent me a friend in the form of a girl I met called Keshia and I continually thank God for her friendship. Even if we stop being friends tomorrow, my heart will never forget the season God used her to get me through. Chile stripped my eyes wide open like many of you know and reinforced the importance of true friendship for me. Some were friends in words and deed, others were just friends in word. All the same, I learnt to value even more those that stood by me.
Now there are some friends that will come into your life for a season and leave in peace, they will often leave behind a valuable lesson that is paramount in terms of your personal & spiritual growth. But, there are others that come as assassins in ‘friends’-clothing, they play the part and will drop their bag with every intention to stay. They’ll need to be kicked out!
We’ve all been given spiritual gitfings and one of the most useful in this day & age is that of discernment. I’d even go as far as to say that spiritual growth demands that we operate in the realm of discernment; of times & seasons, of peoples, spirit & situations. There are some people that appears as sweet as toffee on the outside but are as bitter as kolanut on the inside – shouts out to the people that know what kolanut is, sorry if you’ve ever tried it L. In life it is crucial to discern behind the smile. Like those two women I mentioned earlier who smiled in the face of the other lady before gossiping about her, you cannot always take some people on face value. Was it not Joseph’s brothers that must have smiled at him before they led him into a pit? Did Delilah not whip out her best smile in seducing Sampson? We must reach a place in life where we place everything in God’s hands, friendships included!
There are even some friends who have been with you for a while, they entered your life as a God-sent destiny helper, but hear me when I say that even they can fall outta line. Lucifer was an angel, he was blessed with the ability to sing, to worship God, to fellowship in the heavens and he even has seen the face of the Lord, yet jealousy overtook him and he fell outta line. At the beginning our friends are for us and inseparable from our sides. However, small things can creep in and before you know it they will abandon their role as your destiny helper. If you cannot discern this, you may find yourself fighting a battle you are not prepared for. Nobody has a problem when you’re both riding the bus, but all of a sudden the spirit of jealousy causes others to covet the things you have when God finally blesses you with a limo! The spirit of jealousy is one of the biggest thieves of friendship/ relationship. So believe me when I say that trust is good, but discernment is better.
Why don’t you just write a list of your close friends and take that list to God. Ask Him what their hearts are like towards you? Why they are in your life? And anything else that comes to mind, be intentional and prayerful about your friendships.
As we are told in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, we are equally connected. The same principle applies to a circle of friends, therefore you must be conscious about who else you are connected to. Follow me into the Old Testament. In Joshua 7, the Israelites went to war against the small army at Ai under the leadership of Joshua. Yet they were surprisingly defeated. When Joshua enquired of the Lord he discovered that a member of his army Achan had disobeyed God’s request that they should not take the spoils of war in previous battle. One person ruined the victory for the whole group because he had violated the word and command of God. Now imagine the Israelites army was a circle of friends, because one friend acted up, they were all punished. Because of the unrighteousness of one, the sin as multiplied and extended to all. The point I’m making is this, friendships are spiritual connections and it is very important to be vigilant about who you and (your purpose/destiny) are connected to.
Using the same scripture from 1 Corinthians 12, just as we all play different roles in the church, we also do the same in our friendship groups. If you are a joint, your friend needs to be the muscle, if one an eye the other needs to be the head, but you both need to serve a purpose and play a positive part in the lives of one another. However, this is not always the case and we’ve all had friends that have helped led us astray at one point in life. Those all-consuming friends often make us weak and unable to separate ourselves from the tie, that’s when we find that we’ve been pulled into utter destruction. Other times, we are so blinded to the destructive element of a friendship/relationship that God has to opens our eyes, and sometimes do us a favour by removing those negative people from your life.
I have seen with my own eyes that if you refuse to, God will change your circle for you. For instance – when you come to a place in Christ that He changes you so much, have you ever noticed that there are some people that can’t be around you. There are some friends that pull away from you and you won’t even know – but that’s God. You can’t be changed on the inside and no change be manifested on outside! When I came to Christ back in 2009, I immediate stopped doing the things I once did. I’m quite fortunate that I didn’t have much to contend with nor was there anything so tempting that it could easily draw me back in. I’m quite a granny at heart and I pretty much dislike the taste of most alcohols and champagnes would occasionally drink alcho-pops if at all. I only drank between the ages of 18—19 and not much when I did. I was a prolific swearer and probably found that the hardest thing to cut out. I like to dance and get dressed up but didn’t necessary feel like I couldn’t breathe if I wasn’t doing such things in a club and so that was easy in some ways to stop doing. But the test came when friends would try to lure me back into clubs through the weapon of peer pressure. What they don’t know is that despite being a friendly & sociable person; I have no problem keeping my own company and that’s probably the most deceptive thing about me. People see me and think I am uber sociable and outgoing, but they fail to see all the way in. But I digress, the fear of losing friends isn’t really something I’ve really ever cared about at all so peer pressure was definitely wasted on me. The one thing I cared about at the time (and still now ;), was pleasing God.
So what I did experience from friends and family knocked me a bit because pleasing God shouldn’t be such a bad thing right? Wrong. Sideways comments and mockery were constantly sent my way, all because I had made the change and crossed over from death to life. “Now she thinks she’s Jesus”, “she’s changed boi”, “she’s all churchy”, “she’s always posting about Jesus”, “she talks about Jesus so much”. It was hard but unfortunately people could not handle it. Let me keep it 100% real and confess that I am not a victim and if anything, life came round full circle and bit me hard ha! When one of my close girls rededicated her life to Christ back in secondary school, I thought she was lame, boring and a sanctimonious geek. Look how life catches up with you! So I’m making this point to illustrate that sometimes people honestly do not know what they do. When you don’t know Christ you don’t know how much you’re missing out its impossible to fathom how green the grass actually is. Put simply, the world is darkness and darkness cannot tolerate the existence of light because there can only be one winner. This isn’t like a rainbow that is produced by sun and rain and therefore one force blends with the other to produce an outcome where all win; light & darkness cannot peacefully co-exist. It is a battle, one MUST consume the other, and light consumes the dark just as Christ consumes the world. It’s like my God eats your god for breakfast hahaha! And until people enter the light, they’ll always be afraid of it.
So anyway, I bore the insults etc because if there’s one thing life has taught me it’s that nothing worth having is easy, ask Jesus all about the cross! As a result of my giving my life to Christ, people fell out of my sphere of friends. They either stop calling, texting or hanging out or I did. They started to treat me differently or disassociate themselves with me and so did I. I knew that I couldn’t be a serious child of God and still walk with the same crowd that was diametrically opposed to everything He requires of us.
I was fortunate that God has given me a resolute spirit and when I vowed that I would live out our command to use every breathe we have to praise Him I meant it. This very blog started off about my university experience, created one afternoon in April 2009 after I had finished my prelims at Uni. I used to blog about random things, about an acquaintance I did the same subject as and about grime music. Those days are a distance memory. But after seeing a mockery profile on twitter parodying Jesus Christ that had over 120,000 followers in 2011, I vowed I would use my spheres of influence & social media outlets to edify God & others. I vowed that my life would be used to glorify Him and for those that know me, they will attest that I don’t make promises very easily , so once I do I intend on keeping it and I’m thankful that now I have a circle of friendship that either respect or equally dedicated to doing that.
Your connections and circles are incredibly important. The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”’ and this is something I’ve seen with my own eyes. Backsliding is real and one of the vehicles used by the enemy to drag us back into old habits or sin is people. Relationships are underpinned by influence, so please be vigilant about who you allow to influence you in your circle. The thing about a circle is there is no gap or break, it continually goes round and round and each part is seamlessly merged into the other. Likewise, your life is seamlessly merged into that of the other members of your circle/cliques. So be very selective and conscious of the people you become connected to. Bad company really does corrupt good character.
There ends Part 2, stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4!
So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!
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