Sometimes when I think about how long I have been saved and been in church I am ashamed to admit my lack of knowledge or the things that I have felt. But I believe that there are other young Christians who feel the same way. God commands us to "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed." I have a desire to tell others some of the things that I have been insecure about in my Christian walk so that others may find motivation and determination to give their all to God. Just reading these articles will not help you find the answer to your problems, but they may show you how much clearer things are when your life is lived for and through Christ alone.
Over the years I have struggled with not knowing who I should befriend and who I should kindly avoid. Most of the people I am around are Christians, but I wasn't sure if I should befriend those Christian's who aren't actively serving God or committed to doing what's right. I realize this may sound very judgmental, but since I am already an introvert I was really looking for an excuse to stay to myself and the few people that I was drawn to. I also had an overwhelming desire to do everything right and to look right to everyone around me, thus I was very conscientious about who I was associated with.
On the other hand, sometimes there were people that I enjoyed talking to casually, yet almost felt guilty for doing so because they weren't a Christian or they were living their own life totally unconcerned about what God wanted. I've heard so many people say that most of the time you don't bring them up, they bring you down, that I really believed that. I had a hard time finding the balance between being someone's friend and being friendly to them and nothing more. Many times my soul was in turmoil over this.
For the past several weeks my mind and heart have been fixed on God more than ever before. I finally came to a point in my life where I was tired of being inconsistent and struggling every day to do what was right. I decided that I was going to serve God and I was not going to give up no matter how hard it would be. My mind has been so focused on learning the scriptures and learning how to develop a better prayer life that I no longer worried about who I should befriend. God had filled my soul with joy so that everyone I passed at work I smiled at and gave a hearty greeting. At church I was more confident in myself and actually had a desire to talk to others a little more than I had in the past. Without even trying I began to be a friendlier person in small ways.
During this time of renewed fellowship with God, a missionary from Palou visited our church while on deputation. One of the scriptures he preached out of was II Corinthians chapter 5:17-18. "Therfore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;" These scriptures have stuck in my mind and I've read them over many times because the meaning behind them is so great. When the missionary read this passage I felt like God pointed straight at me and said, "That's your ministry" and truly it is because the scripture says so itself.
To reconcile is to to "call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated or to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement." (1828 Webster's Dictionary) I believe this ministry of reconciliation is two-fold. Primarily, we are to introduce the lost world to Christ by the words we say and the way we live. Secondly, I believe we are also responsible for drawing wayward Christians back to Christ. Many have gone astray, and if we pull them back into fellowship with the good Shepherd our efforts to reach the lost will be stronger.
Since God has shown me this I look at every person I meet as an opportunity to serve God through this ministry. Every chance I get to talk to someone is a chance for me to speak God's name. Saved or lost, there is opportunity to serve the God that I love. I no longer wonder if God wants me to be friendly to the co-worker who is living in sin. I don't question if befriending that lady at church is "worth it". At first glance it may seem like most of the friendships or friendly acquaintances I have do not benefit me, but they most certainly do. Every time I speak God's name to someone, in person or in e-mail, my soul is thrilled because I love to brag on my God! I love this ministry of reconciliation.