Are you where you should be according to God’s will? Do your friends or colleagues help bring out the best in you through God? If not, then will you be willing to leave them if God tells you to go?
Choosing your environment is very important as you grow up. Think of yourself as a seed. If planted in the wrong soil or environment, you won’t grow. On the other hand, if you are planted in the right place with the right conditions, you will bloom.
Growing up, I had the freedom to choose whom I befriended. Basically, I had no template nor guidelines on what I should look for in a friend. I had plenty of friends through the years, but none of them really stuck around. In school, I was never a part of any group until I joined the football team. But they didn’t really stay. In high school, I had a group of friends whom I ate with during breaks. We eventually became closer as we grew up.
When we reached college, by some twist of fate, most of us became schoolmates. And this was when I wished I had some guidance. My friends and I started to skip school for activities like playing in computer shops all day, drinking, and flirting with girls. I practically missed entire semesters doing these activities with them.
Sometimes I drank until I could barely recall past events. I even tried to get as many girls as I could. Needless to say, it was a dark time for me. By the time I felt the need to fix things within myself, none of those friends came to my aid. In fact, I became the villain in the group. I felt betrayed and angry. My experience with a bad company of friends continued when I began working.
My colleagues fooled around by drinking, gambling, and womanizing. With such an environment and no godly community behind me, it became easy for me to fall into temptation.
Now, more than a decade later, I realized that I didn’t have friends who had Jesus in the center of their lives. I didn’t have the support system that would love me the way God loves us.
The turning point was when I got married. I found a wife who helped me become a better person, father, and husband, but it was during one of my lowest points in marriage where I experienced a Jesus-encounter that led me to where I am now. It happened when my wife left me because she found out that I cheated on her. One night, when I was alone, I asked God what His purpose was for allowing this to happen to me. It was also during this moment when I learned to truly surrender everything to Him.
I am now in a community called Sunday Feast where God’s love overflows. I am now a lot stronger when facing temptation. My new friends pray for me, guide me, and show me God’s love. With their help, I’m growing into the best version of myself through the unconditional love they have shown.
Aside from Sunday gatherings, we meet in what we call a Light Group for couples. We share our blessings and problems there, and we receive guidance, love, and prayers from other couples.
My only regret was that I wasn’t part of a loving community until I committed all the mistakes I made. Although I am happy with how things are unfolding, it would have been better if I knew God earlier.
If you are with people who drag you down or hinder your growth in whatever aspect of your life, you might have to let go of them. It may not be a permanent distancing, but it might be a time to grow and find the support system that will nurture you. That way, you can come back stronger against temptation and bring your old friends to Jesus. After all, that is our mission as Christians.
Yabee is a writer, videographer, and an award-winning photographer. Since coming back to Jesus, he has pledged to use his talents to serve the Lord.