How do I get my friends that never talk about God to actually like Him? That’s what one of you asked me recently.
Well, ultimately you can’t make anyone like God. But there are some things you can do along the way that will definitely help . . . or hurt. Here are five ways you can help your friends not like God.
Don’t enjoy God yourself.
You can’t help but talk about what you enjoy. So don’t spend any time with Him, just you and Him. And by all means, don’t enjoy Him! Then you might not be able to contain your excitement—you might spill the latest thing you’ve been admiring about Him—and your friends might actually get excited about God, too.
Don’t live what you claim to believe.
Embrace Jesus as your Savior but not your Lord. It doesn’t really matter that you follow and obey Him each day. I mean, He shouldn’t mess up your life or plans or have a say over every area of your life. That would be too . . . radical, don’t you think?
Don’t share the Good News with your friend.
There are a whole heap of reasons for this. It might make the conversation weird. You might stutter and stumble over your words. Surely your friend wouldn’t be interested! And what if it ruined your friendship? You might miss out on a future opportunity to share the Good News with her.
Only share the gospel once, but expect your friend to trust in Christ immediately.
Never mind the fact that God is a patient God or that you and I had to hear the gospel countless times; this is different. Your friend really should just get it! Besides, if you’ve told him or her once, you’ve done your job, right?
Never seek to understand.
Don’t ask your friend questions; don’t seek to understand what he or she has been told about God, or if they even believe He exists at all. Just preach at your friend. Act as if you have all the answers. I mean, you basically do, right? Why bother asking questions like Jesus did? He was God—you’re not. Just try to impress them with all your knowledge.
Of course I’m saying this tongue in cheek, since you and I actually want our friends to like God. In fact, we want them to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength! But sometimes we put obstacles in their way.
Have you ever done any of this? If so, what do you relate to? And more importantly, what can you do today to share the Good News with your friend in a way that will possibly help them almost . . . like God?
“5 Ways to Make Sure Your Friends (Don’t) Like God” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
When a Christian leader you’d looked up to and learned from messes up royally (and unfortunately it’s not a matter of if but when you’ll experience this), I know what you’ll want to do. You’ll want to block them on Facebook and delete their pictures on your Instagram account and burn their books and reject every truth they ever taught you but apparently didn’t live themselves.
A flood of emotions will bombard you from all sides—anger, disbelief, revulsion, guilt for not having seen through their hypocrisy. Your stomach will hurt, your head will ache, you’ll feel like throwing up. You won’t be able to understand how they could’ve preached against the very thing they were doing in secret.
When that happens, go ahead and weep. Let it tear you up. God’s glory is at stake. Pour out all your emotions to God like David does in the Psalms. In fact, that might be a great book of the Bible to camp out in for a while!
While your emotions are churning, though, it’s important to remember that your emotions are tied to your thoughts and beliefs. When a Christian leader you looked up to messes up royally, here are six truths to remember that will help tame your wild emotions:
Only God is good. Jesus said it Himself in Mark 10:18: “No one is good except God alone.” Boy, we forget this all the time, don’t we? We set men and women up on pedestals and follow them rather than following the God to whom they’re pointing. Always remember that anything good you see in a Christian leader—if it truly is good—is only a result of Jesus Christ making His home in them.
Truth is still truth, whether they lived it or not.Romans 1:18 doesn’t say man’s unrighteousness disproves the truth—He says it suppresses the truth. This is why God’s wrath is revealed from heaven, because He takes the truth very seriously! Truth is still truth—even if it’s hard to distinguish it through the lie of their life.It’s also entirely possible that they twisted the truth. Open your Bible, and search out truth for yourself. Don’t just do this when a leader fails but anytime a leader teaches or writes or preaches (Acts 17:11).
“But for the grace of God, there go I.” Be careful if you think you’re above ever stooping to that level. We’re warned in 1 Corinthians 10, “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man” (vv. 12–13). You will probably be tempted in a similar way someday. When that happens, God promises He’ll provide a way of escape (v. 13)—it’ll be up to you to take it. When that happens, run far, far away as fast as your little legs will take you. Don’t linger and dream about what it might be like to toy with sin just a little.
God still loves them. Their sin hasn’t “chilled” God’s love for them. Remember, He died for them while they were still His enemies (Rom. 5:10)! The fact that their sin was discovered by others is actually God’s mercy. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. If they don’t repent and trust in Christ’s righteousness on their behalf, you can be sure they’ll experience God’s wrath in the future (Rom. 2:5). But for now, He waits patiently, kindly, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
Repentance is a process. If you’re like me, you’ll expect that leader to repent immediately. To confess their sin and bring it out into the light and turn from it back to the Lord. That’s certainly God’s desire, too! But this won’t always happen right away.When King David (a man who genuinely loved God) had sex with another man’s wife and then had that man murdered in order to cover up his sin, it was at least nine months before he acknowledged, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Sam. 12:13). Pray that God would give the leader you looked up to godly sorrow leading to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10).
Not everyone who claims to be a Christ-follower actually is one. First John 2:19 tells us that only the person who finishes well was actually ever saved: “If they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” Not that believers never stumble (remember King David!). But if they really are Christ-followers, you will see them repent and return to their original faith in Christ’s righteousness on their behalf.
If you’ve ever had a “Christian” leader fail big time, what other truths have you clung to? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, is there someone you need to take off your pedestal? Remember, no one but God is ultimately good.
And don’t forget to pray for your leaders. A great prayer is found at the end of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13: “Lead [them] not into temptation, but deliver [them] from evil.” Which leader can you commit to praying for regularly?
I’ve started a new tradition when I speak—collecting girls’ deepest questions on index cards (that way no one knows who the questions belong to). This last time it seemed nearly every girl wanted to know about kissing.
“Is kissing guys prior to marriage okay?”
“Your opinions on kissing before marriage.”
“What is your viewpoint on kissing before your wedding day?”
Well, for the record, I’ve done it—kissed a guy before marriage. Three, actually. And we’re not talking just a peck on the cheek.
I’ve realized God didn’t love me any less when I kissed guys as a young teen, and God doesn’t love me any more since I’ve stopped kissing guys.
However, it’s been fifteen years since my last kiss. That’s right. I kissed for the last time on my sixteenth birthday.
Don’t cheer for me too soon, though. I stopped for all the wrong reasons.
I stopped kissing because in my mind, no kissing = “doing the God thing.” I thought I’d make His VIP list ’cause of my commitment. Since then, I’ve realized God didn’t love me any less when I kissed guys as a young teen, and God doesn’t love me any more since I’ve stopped kissing guys.
Well, if that’s true, does that mean I can just pucker up and kiss any ole’ guy I want to kiss?
Nope. Romans 2:4 tells me God’s grace is meant to lead me to repentance.
Today I have five very different reasons for not kissing:
I want to “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12). I don’t literally and physically kiss God (God is Spirit, after all). But my desire is to pursue and exalt God as my greatest treasure—to “kiss” Him through the way I think about and draw near to and obey Him.
I know myself. Kissing just leaves a girl wanting more (at least this one!). If I date in the future, I hope to stay as far away from kissing as possible this side of the altar. I don’t know that I’ll make it (sounds tougher than running a marathon!), but by God’s grace, I will choose to love and not lust after my boyfriend from the start.
I’m not married yet. While I can’t go back and erase my past, I can start new! I’d love to save all my kisses from sweet sixteen on for my future husband as a gift. Once (or rather “if”) I marry, that’ll be the time to be extravagantly generous with my kisses.
I’m brand new (2 Cor. 5:17). God has cleaned me up and declared me holy through Jesus’ righteous record. I choose to live in light of who I am. For me, this doesn’t begin with staying away from kissing—it happens long before, as I control my thoughts rather than letting them control me. I don’t struggle with not kissing in real life ’cause I’m not fantasizing about kissing in my thought life anymore.
I have God’s Holy Spirit living in me, which means I finally have power for holy living (yippee!). I no longer have to be controlled by my desires; I get to control my desires by tapping into the Spirit’s self-control (Gal. 5:22–23). So thankful I have some help!
How about you? Why are you saving—or spending—your kisses this side of the altar? I’d love to hear your reason(s).