Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Simple Living - Are you being a true friend?

I took a survey of the youth last Thursday during youth group.  I asked them "How many of you would confront a friend who was doing something you knew was wrong?"  Out of 20 teens only 5 raised their hand.  I was mortified.

Whether we want to admit it or not, Christianity is influenced by culture as the above example shows.  I know I talk about accountability in youth group quite often because it is an essential part of Christianity.  God has created us as social beings in need of real/honest fellowship.  Unfortunately our concept of "fellowship" has been distorted.

One teen I know admitted that they would not confront a friend concerning wrong because "it is not my place."   A lie of society that has come with the philosophy that we should be tolerant of all things (all things that aren't Christian).  If we are to be tolerant of all things then we have no right to confront a good friend about destructive behavior, but this is not what Scripture says.

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."    (Galatians 6:1-2 ESV)

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works"    (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..."   (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)

These are but a few scriptures speaking to true fellowship.  The kind of relationships that are being promoted by society are superficial relationships.  The goal of such a relationship is to have the selfish desires of an individual met. It is a focus on self, but the goal of godly relationships is to meet the needs of others.  It is the type of relationship that God has with us.  His concern is not for himself.  His concern is for us.

In such a relationship there is no fear of mutual accountability.  God calls us to love one another.  True love is doing what is best and right for someone/each other.  To allow sin to rule in the lives of our friends/family and not to confront it is selfish and truly unloving.  Such inaction is the result of a misconception of love and a masked desire to do what is easiest; that which causes the least amount of pain not to the individual sinning but the friend who is not confronting.

How close are you to Christian brothers and sisters?  Are you open to letting them challenge your actions?  Are you even close enough for them to really know what is going on in your life which would give them opportunity to challenge if need be?  Can you truly say that your close relationships are to the point that you feel comfortable challenging your friends concerning bad/destructive (ungodly) behavior?

In essence, this is just another part of the Simple Life a disciple is supposed to lead.  Growth (Development) happens within the context of relationships.  It is the model set forth in the Bible and it is also the model seen in human nature from earliest of times.  One of the authors of Proverbs says this "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."  (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)  Those who desire to be disciples of Jesus need to understand that honest, challenging relationships are key to development.

It might be time to sit down and talk with your Christian friends.  Just how far are you willing to go with each other?  Are you willing to hold each other accountable?  Are you open to the possibility that you may have to confront or challenge sin in each others' lives?  Those living the Simple Life are willing to take their relationships to the next god honoring level.  Are you?

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