How do I give up my friends who believe differently?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: I serve in the military and was saved at an evangelistic meeting on base. My faith is in Jesus now and I read the Bible and try to treat others well. But I have to admit that I have a hard time giving up my friends who believe differently, and I stay in turmoil about giving in to peer pressure. What is the solution? – F.O.
A: Following Christ and growing strong is exercising the freedom to trust in Him and obey His commands. When a soldier submits to the authority of his or her commanding officer, he or she obeys what that officer tells him or her to do. If a patient submits to a doctor’s treatment, he or she follows the instructions. If a football player submits to the direction of his coach, he abides by the coach’s plan. When we submit ourselves to the Savior, we obey what He tells us to do because we know His way is right.
How many problems could be avoided if God’s people would obey His Word? The Bible gives us principles that will guide our lives. God’s Word isn’t to be debated or dissected; it is to be done. “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word” (Psalm 119:101, NIV).
God also leads by His Holy Spirit. Sometimes we struggle to know what is right. Many times, it’s because we don’t want to give up something we know we should walk away from. But through prayer, asking God to give us strength, He will enable us to make the hard decisions, and we find that the joy of obeying Christ fills the void.
When we take a stand for Christ, we may be forsaken by friends, but we must never compromise our faith for the sake of friendship with the world. The Bible tells us that we should influence others toward God (Jeremiah 15:19).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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