It is striking how great the difference is between the effects my Christian friends have on me and the effects my non-believing friends have on me.
My Christian friends are terribly broken sinners with mistake-ridden pasts. But they acknowledge their errors and seek grace, joy, salvation, and life in Christ Jesus, knowing that at the end of the day only He can satisfy their souls. Contrastingly, whether or not my non-believing friends acknowledge their previous errors, they continue to daily seek their grace, joy, salvation and life in earthly things. These earthly things (alcohol, marijuana, sex, beauty, comfort, control) are NOT bad in themselves. But when placed in this idolized position they become evil and dangerous destroyers of the human soul.
I realize that sounds quite dramatic and perhaps judgmental. But I tell you– I judge not. If you look through older posts of mine, it is clear that I have sought satisfaction in alcohol, marijuana and other idols. Every human has these things that we keep on pedestals. Whatever your beliefs or idols, I assure you I do not hold you in lower esteem than I do my Christian friends.
Now to draw this back to comparisons: What a grand difference I see in my behavior when I spend time with people who are aware both of their imperfections and of their deep need for Jesus as the satisfier of their souls. In my time with these people, my desire for euphoria and my lust are not diminished but rather vastly overpowered by the mysteriously alluring presence of God. With these people, I am able to see more clearly that the idols I keep will fill me up briefly but ultimately leave me high and dry.
I am grateful for my Christian friends as much as for my non-believing friends. But I am realizing that without pulling back my love for my non-believing friends, I should consider drawing boundaries. I will always be tempted as long as I walk the earth, but I am able to make it more difficult for temptation to reach me by guarding my soul and surrounding myself with the truth.