Following Christ takes sacrifice. Those sacrifices could cause many of your friends to leave you. When you quit going to smoke break, going to the bar, going clubbing, or even going to Sunday brunch due to service, your friends can get offended.
A lot of American churches try to sell the idea that we can still be the same person we always were, but just add Jesus so we’re saved and don’t go to hell. We can do everything exactly the same except sometimes we go to church and pray over our dinner and we are good people. These people probably won’t relate that much to this particular post.
A true relationship with Jesus will cause a change in our lives. We will want to leave behind other false gods, addictions, and anything that is against the Word of God or keeps us bound. When you start cutting off sin in your life to pursue a deeper relationship with God, you will inevitably cut off friends, as well.
While we can definitely acknowledge that those people may not be the greatest friends anyway if they drop your friendship once you don’t do particular activities with them, it still hurts. Even friends that weren’t connected to a very sinful lifestyle can feel neglected when you become more involved in church and church functions that overlap with times you used to hang out. Sometimes in these cases, life may take you separate ways. You can always invite these friends to join you at church and spend time with you at these functions, but it’s not guaranteed that they’ll agree to such a change.
When you’re left with few friends, you might feel bad for feeling lonely. “All I need is God!” While it certainly is wonderful for you to have a close and constant relationship with God, I want to point you to a Scripture that stood out to me recently.
“And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” - Genesis 2:18.
Adam was in the Garden of Eden with God. He was able to literally walk with Him. His relationship with God at that time was not suffering. Yet, God still saw that man needed someone. It is not good for us to be alone. So while pursuing righteousness and holiness and your walk with God, you do need others.
This is why I write a lot about being involved in church. You may lose your worldly or past friends. But you can make new friendships with people in church who are after the same goals you are. These are people who will not shame you for not going out and getting drunk with you or look at you weird when you want to talk about how great God is. These are people who will encourage you in your walk and understand the types of struggles you’re facing.
Don’t be afraid to get connected in church. I know it hurts to lose old friends, but try to open up to new friends. You’re living a new life and getting rid of the old things – old bad habits, old false gods, old ways of thinking. Join together with fellow believers who will encourage your efforts and help you grow.