Changed Means Changes
One of the toughest problems I have experienced in my Christian life and witnessed in the lives of others is the tension between the old life and the new. I mean to say specifically those times when you have to learn to leave other things behind, and, when necessary, things we have grown attached to. Sometimes it means we have to leave behind our friends.
Now, you don’t leave them totally, at least not all of them right away, but you cannot do the things you did, you cannot go to the places you used to go, and so forth. You have a new Master to obey. This can be hard. You know you have changed, but what some don’t realize is that they are still changing. Believers who say things like “The Lord delivered me from so and so and I never wanted to go back again” only confuse the issue. God doesn’t always take away our desires, or the desire for our friends.
Jesus’ siblings had seen Him all their lives before He went out into public ministry. Suddenly it would seem that He was doing miracles, and gathering disciples, and considering human nature and family nurture, no wonder His immediate relatives were skeptical. When people grow up with you, even if you were a decent kid, and then you identify with Christ, it will be as it was with Christ. They won’t believe you are who you say you are, a Christian. They will think you are out of your mind for “trying” to change, and your old friends will think you are weird for not running with the pack (1 Peter 4:4). They will test you, and the trouble for some is they see this testing in the wrong way. They think it means they aren’t saved, but what it really means is that they are, they are also just on the way, in the process.
Just because you haven’t changed all the way doesn’t mean that you aren’t changed and that doesn’t mean you aren’t changing. You may still feel the pull of the peer pressure but all this should do is prove to you that you do need to renew your mind (Romans 12:2). You do need to cast down contrary thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), and think on good things (Philippians 4:8). You do need to realize that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). You must water that seed, till that soil, and grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Things are different now, but it is not the decision to start but the determination to stay that counts. Thank God that what He starts He finishes (Philippians 1:6). But let me also give you a word of encouragement friend. God is the author and finisher of our faith, but He is also the performer of it. He ordains not only the end result but also the means to that end. That is why we can act with confidence and with a full assurance of faith (Philippians 2:12-13 / 1 Thessalonians 5:24 / Hebrews 10:22). When you are changed, expect changes. It is your destiny.