His friends encouraged him to start using again. He was susceptible because they had been his “family” when his family was not around. They had become the primary influence in his life. The memory of being busted, the time in detention and even the positive experience with an organization committed to helping him get his life on the right track were not enough to equip him to say, “No!” to old friends. The strength of the past overwhelmed the conviction to change.
A Christian’s walk begins with conviction in relationship with Jesus the Christ. As a new friend, He encourages engagement through some basic disciplines – time in prayer, scripture, worship and study that help the young Christian get to know Him, to grow in relationship with Him. The disciplines can lead to a reevaluation of friends in immediate circles and the surroundings that are frequented. This is a critical juncture on the journey as a Christian because it is only when we turn from the noise of past friends or past failures that we can make the turn in relationship with Him.
Make the Turn: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2. Paul was keenly aware that the natural tendency of man is to conform to his surroundings. There was a lot of confessing going on during the 1st century but repenting, turning from the lifestyle of sin, was another story. One popular thought during this time was that a man could continue in his sinful ways because Christ was the perfect sacrifice for all sins past, present and future. Paul rebuked this notion and calls all to make the turn from sinful ways through the renewing of your mind – do not look back or go back until you have been able to test and approve God’s will, His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Learned disciplines were compromised and consequences were incurred. In his own strength it proved very difficult for the young man to stand firm against the perceived comfort of old friendships. He put his trust in friends and conformed to the pattern of his past. Today, he is putting his trust in the Lord and conforming to the image of His Son. He is making the turn from old friends not in his own strength but in the power of Jesus the Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your love, for Your Son and for Your word. There are no excuses for conforming to the pattern of this world. I confess that my conformity was driven by self-interest and I repent to pursue You. I commit to renewing my mind through time spent in Your word, in prayer, in worship and in study. Grant me strength through the Holy Spirit to discern well, rebuke temptations to look back and walk boldly forward in Your good, pleasing and perfect will. Amen.
A faithful father makes the turn to Christ by the renewing of his mind.