Balancing Both: Your Mission Field vs. Your Christian Friends

Balancing Both: Your Mission Field vs. Your Christian Friends

This post has been requested from a number of our readers, all grappling with the balance of how spending time with Christian friends vs. spending time with friends from outside the church family. Everyone comes from different start points here: but whatever your situation, we hope our humble thoughts today will go some way in helping you remain firmly rooted in God’s way for your life – confident as a girl on a mission!

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The phrase ‘being in the world, but not of it’ refers to Jesus speaking at a number of points throughout the gospel of John - both in John 15:19 but also in John 17:18, written below:

Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. (John 17:18)

Jesus isn't telling us here to take ourselves out of the world completely. In John 16:33 he warns us to expect trouble and suffering in this world; and then in John 17:15, Jesus says his prayer is “not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.”

It’s clear that we’re here in the world on purpose. Being in the world isn’t something to try and escape from or be scared of. And yet, it’s wise to stay rooted and keep protected from the ways of ‘the evil one’, so that we can be effective in our mission and bring glory to God.

1. We Belong To A Family 

And  let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Belonging to a community of Christian believers is really important: we are all part of God’s family as the body of Christ, and the Bible is clear on this in Romans 12:5 and Ephesians 2:19 – both of which talk about how all of us need each other to function properly and stay rooted in our faith.

One way to stay rooted is to try and find a few close Christian friends who can act as your ‘accountability partners’: girls who understand your situation, and can ask you about the things that you’re really finding difficult. Is it that your friends are drinking heavily at the weekends? Is it the temptation to sleep with your boyfriend? Find trusted people who you can talk with honestly and openly, praying together for God’s strength in all situations.

It can also be helpful to meet up with someone who is a few steps ahead of you, to have the wisdom of a mentor figure in your life. Having 1:1 check-ins with your Youth Group leader, or an older woman from your church is a great way to stay accountable and gain wisdom from those who have gone before you.

These are good ways to make sure we are rooted in a community of believers; but ultimately we must remember that (in this life) the family isn’t an end in itself. Hebrews 10:24 says the reason we meet together is to motivate each other to love and to good deeds, and to encourage one another. Of course, it’s a huge blessing to have Christian friends who you can journey through life with: to laugh with, cry with, to share experiences and advice as you grow up together; and I believe that is something that God loves to give us! But most particularly: 

it’s glorifying to God when our Christian friendships are RELENTLESSLY outward-focused through the ups and downs of life: encouraging each other to live courageously for our King.

So let’s aim to make our Christian friendships ones that reflect the calling we've been given. For after all, we are girls on a mission!

2. We’re Girls On A Mission  

Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. (John 17:18)

In this verse, we see that we are sent into the world – just like Jesus was. Jesus came down into earth on the biggest mission there ever was: to save humanity from sin. We are also sent into the world on a mission: to share God’s love with a lost world.

“Notice that for Jesus being “not of the world” isn’t the destination in these verses but the starting place. It’s not where things are moving toward, but what they’re moving from. He is not of the world, and he begins by saying that his followers are not of the world. But it’s going somewhere. Jesus is not huddling up the team for another round of kumbaya, but so that we can run the next play and advance the ball down the field.”
Desiring God, In But Not Of 

One little litmus test that I often use, when I’m faced with conflicting plans about how to spend my time – is to remember this overarching calling on my life. This means that if I’m choosing between spending time with my Christian friends (who I love and who encourage me endlessly) – or spending time with the friends in my life who don’t yet know Jesus (who I also love and am inspired by!); I often feel called by God to do the latter.

If we’re making our decisions through a lens of eternal significance, we will often find ourselves spending time (just like Jesus did) with those who don't yet know the Father's love.

This doesn’t mean retreating completely from either circle of friends – but I believe it actually means investing wholeheartedly in everyone who is placed in your life: either encouraging them in their own mission fields, or to getting out into your own! Because we are strong in your Christ-given identity, we have the freedom to really invest 100% in the friends God has given us. This means living and loving to the full: recognising that everyone is searching for something greater, and everyone has deep value in God's eyes.

There isn’t a black and white answer for every question that comes up with regards to being on the mission field (for example: Should I go clubbing? Where do I draw my boundary lines?). But if you are serious and disciplined about rooting yourself in the truth of God’s Word, devoting yourself to prayer, and being bold and courageous as you step out in faith to answer God’s call on your life – I think you will find your balance.

The aim is for our hearts to be completely, 100% sold-out for Christ – so there is no room for the world and its ways to steal our focus and attention. If we are devoted to our King Jesus, we can be confidently sent into the world: loving our friends who don’t yet know Jesus and sharing our hearts and lives with them.

Never forget that we are girls on a mission: called to glorify God and make disciples on this earth – and that God will give us everything we need to do HIS work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

We’re praying that you would stay rooted in the faith; that you would find purpose in your Christian friendships and be spurred on to get out on that mission field and live for the glory of God!

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Lucy founded More Precious in 2013 whilst studying at Durham University, and has had the humbling experience of overseeing its growth ever since. She is passionate about communicating what it means to be in relationship with God to girls and young women. 

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