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In James 4:4 it outlines the basic commitment for a friendship. This is a good verse to memorize: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Who so ever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

The Amplified Bible says, "...Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy?" God tells you right here the basis for all your close friendships. It applies not only to the people you decide to be friends with, but to those you decide to separate from.

In fact, you can use it to set the groundwork for the separation. That way you can end the relationship more quickly instead of waiting and making things harder.

That's not to say that all the responsibility falls on you. The other people involved need to understand that they have some decisions to make too. When it comes to letting James 4:4 and your friendship with God set the standard, it's not really your decision that will end the relationship. It's theirs if they choose not to make the same dedication and commitment spiritually that you've made.

You've already made your decision. If they decide to reject Jesus (or to reject moving on with the Lord), which basically means they're rejecting the conditions of the relationship, then they've made their decision.

It's not a matter of your being too good for them. You just can't have close fellowship with them anymore. Sometimes it's hard to tell where you have to draw the line to cut off wrong friendships or let go of people you have outgrown. (By that I mean, spiritually; you and they no longer have anything in common, such as what happens when one person in the friendship gets saved and the other doesn't.)

The Word of God has some specific things to say about the friendships you establish past the casual stage. In fact, there are several scriptures that talk about questionable friendships and wrong relationships, because once you become a child of God, a distinction is made.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, it says,
Be ye not unequaly yoked together with unbelievers: For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
In 2 John 1:10 it says, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, recieve him not into your house, neither bid him God speed."

In Luke 6:22, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the son of man's sake.

Now it can be hard to break off a friendship you've had all your life. But there comes a point where you have to make some hard decisions. You have to examine the relationships around you and do whatever is necessary to line up with the Word of God.

The Word is your basis for establishing friendships, so your basic standard for every relationship is, if they don't want God, then they can't be your friend!

Sometimes you have to cut yourself off from other Christians too. I've had people actually get mad at me because I wouldn't run with them. As I said, my family was (and still is) my best friend, and I chose to run with them instead.

Once I had to tell one person, "Look, I don't call my mama or anybody until I've taken care of my family first." At the time, my kids were growing up and going through different things, and I was spending all of my time with them. So my attitude was, "What makes you think you're so important, demanding so much of my time that I need for my family?"

I have a responsibility to my children and my husband. God is going to hold me accountable for them. He's not going to hold my friends accountable. He's going to hold me accountable. I was the one who chose to say, "I do." I was the one who chose to get pregnant and have children.

So I had to be responsible for those choices, which meant that all those other things that some people consider so important had to go by the wayside. They weren't as important.

What you have to realize is that some people will try to take their right to choose and force it on you. But just because someone chooses to be your friend doesn't mean you have to choose that person to be your friend.

We let people pressure us all the time into doing something because they want to do it. Everyone talks about peer pressure with teenagers, but there's adult pressure too. We allow our friends to crowd us or pressure us into doing things we don't want to do.

Sometimes people are hardheaded and it takes them a little time to come around. Sometimes they're very proud and that's what is holding them back, especially if they've been around the Word and already know what they're supposed to do. When they finally make a decision, they want to make it on their own, not because someone else pressured or pushed them into doing it.

So just keep the friendship casual and stay open to God. You don't want the relationship to progress any further than that, though. If you allow it to become a close friendship prematurely, you can be compromised to the point that the person won't ever come around, or he'll think that you're slipping in your Christian walk.

God has something to say about our relationships and wants to have a part in the relationships we are involved in. As we evaluate our relationships according to God's Word, the godly ones we establish and develop will be rich and rewarding as God intended.

Source: Marriage and Family by Deborah L. Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Deborah Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
 
Pastor Deborah L. Butler serves in ministry with her husband, Bishop Keith A. Butler at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, MI. She is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel.
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