There was a point in my life during college where I craved interactions with people who had similar beliefs. Sure, you might not speak in tongues like I do, or you might go to an extremely religious church, but I didn’t care so much about those differences. I just wanted to be around people who believed in God. Who loved Jesus. Who knew what it was like to be young and a Christian and struggling to maintain my faith. Little did I know, a lot of the people I called “friends’ did believe in God. They believed in Jesus too, although whether they loved him is still up for debate. How could I not know that all of these people who were already in my life were believers? Why after knowing almost everything about these people’s day to day lives did I not know they were Christians? A lot of my friends knew about my faith simply because I mentioned going to church on occasion or they heard conversations I had with my mom (every conversation can turn into a mini sermon lol). But did that really mean I was a Christian? And since I was just finding out about their beliefs by asking specific questions did that mean they were Christians too?
At first I was upset. If we are all friends AND Christians why aren’t we helping each other live a more kingdom based lifestyle? Why does it seem like we encourage each other to sin? Honestly, I had to take a hard look in the mirror. I had to ask myself…”What does it mean to be a Christian for me?” Here’s what I learned….
Being a Christian isn’t just about what you say, but WHAT YOU DO! My life should be evidence of my faith. Accepting God as your Lord and Savior and acknowledging Jesus as His son is a great first step, but it’s only step one. Many in this world don’t have desire to have a relationship with God because they know a lot of people who SAY they are Christians, but DO what the world does. I had to first admit to myself that I was one of those people. And then I had to change…first my mind and then my actions. It’s hard, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. Its fun to be popular, to get attention all the time, to just go with flow. But it’s not right. In case no one has told you before, being young and a Christian isn’t always easy. But it is more than worth it to live everyday covered by the blood, to walk in His grace and mercy, to receive blessing after blessing that you don’t deserve.
As for my friends, I led by example. I prayed in front of them. I talked about God in front of them. I ministered to them using scripture without them even knowing. And most importantly, I started talking consistently to people who had the relationship with God that I wanted and the relationships with friends that I also craved. My mom became one of my best friends. My Titi, a pastor, was someone I reached out to about certain issues I was battling. To be honest, some of the friends I had didn’t last. I lost friends because of the decisions I was making, and that wasn’t easy. But I learned that not everyone is not meant to come with me on this journey with Christ, and it’s better to have a couple valuable friends than a ton of people who make it harder to follow God in their presence.
If you’re young and a Christian and looking for friendships that lead you in the right direction, I am here. I know people who can be here for you. Being a Christian means having brothers and sisters everywhere you go. You’re never alone, and you’re not the only one struggling.