Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Choosing Friends

James 4:4
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Luke 5:30-32
30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

The question has arisen as to whether or not one can be friends with non-Christians. There are two implied directives that can be drawn from the passages quoted above. The first is a stern warning against friendship with the world, and the second explains Jesus' association with the world.

In the James 4 passage, we are warned to not desire friendship with the world. II Corinthians 6:14-16 puts it this way: 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,and I will be their God,and they shall be my people.17 Therefore go out from their midst,and be separate from them, says the Lord,and touch no unclean thing;then I will welcome you,18 and I will be a father to you,and you shall be sons and daughters to me,says the Lord Almighty.”

But what about the Luke passage where Jesus was obviously dining with unbelievers? Jesus' answer made His motives perfectly clear. He was seeking to draw them God and to repentance.

Being friends with a non-believer puts you in a precarious position. You can and should be a friend to them, but they cannot be a friend to you. Let me elaborate. We need to reach out to the world and be kind to them, but non-Christian are not the ones we should go to for advice or moral support. That type of close and intimate friendship should only be held with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you find yourself in a position where there are no other Christians to fellowship, may you truly be a light in the darkness.

Phillipians 2:12-16
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.Posted by Picasa


Terri said...

Dear Calla Lily,

Thank you for this post! It has helped me to remember where to turn to for advice. I work in office with several unbelievers and I need to remember not to go to them for advice.

Mrs Blythe said...

That reminds me of Isaiah 30 "Woe to the obstinate children", declares the LORD, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my
Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection...because you have rejected this message, relied upon oppression and depended upon deceit, this sin will become for yu like a high wall cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant...in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,..."

I obviously have missed big chunks out, but it is powerful. Anyone who is not familiar with Isaiah 30 should look it up. Trust in God is the ONLY way.
Great post, thank you for sharing your insight.

Donna said...

This was neat...I did a similar lesson with our youth group on choosing friends but we as adults need the reminder as well.

Mrs.B. said...

This is an excellent reminder! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Calla Lily, thank you for allowing me to comment anonymously on this topic over the past week or so (under 'The Lost Art of Friendship' post).

In my faith, frienships with non-Christians are only ever formed in order to bring others to a knowledge of the Gospel of Christ, otherwise such friendships are considered a possible stumbling block. Christ interacted with people of all walks of life, however it was with the purpose of bringing them to a right relationship with God.

To have Christian friends of like belief is important - God created us social beings and understands the importance of social support and encouragement. Christ set the example of friendship among believers while on this earth - His close friendships with Lazarus, Mary and Martha; and His Disciples.

Anyway, here's an update on my situation. I beleive there has been Divine intervention to bring this about (that's a longer story) the short of it is this: My husbands company is willing to transfer us to another city where there is a strong community of our faith. I am so stunned! And so happy! We know several of the families personally. Seven years of loneliness may be coming to a close. God is so good to us! Why didn't we pray about this earlier? A lesson is learned.

Thank you Calla Lily for your encouraging and wise posts.