If both the passage of time and the lies of Satan fail to talk you out of the dream God has sown in your heart, some of your friends will probably come forward to help you see things in a more “balanced perspective.”

 

Many of your friends will have a confirming witness in their spirits and will know you’ve heard from God. They will fully support you and pray for you as you pursue your dream. But that probably won’t be the case with all those who are close to you. The friends who have always known you after the flesh may expect you to think and act the way they have always perceived you. For the convenience and comfort of their own flesh, these friends have placed you in a pattern — their pattern — and they don’t want you to change. Change frightens such people because their security rests in things that are temporal, not eternal.

 

Change isn’t the only thing that frightens people who see things only from a natural perspective. If your friends think their lives are mediocre, average, or ordinary, your quest for excellence in God will probably threaten them, and they may very well try to convince you to do otherwise. I say this kindly but truthfully: Your success in obeying God will amplify any other believer’s failure to faithfully pursue God’s plan for his or her life.

 

Negativity is one of the hallmark indications that flesh is in operation. So when these friends hear about your plans, they may respond by giving you a detailed description of every disastrous scenario that could occur — even warning of catastrophes that could never happen! Flesh never believes God or His Word, and it always looks for the worst in every situation.

 

For instance, if God has told you to step out and start a new business, your friends might offer this advice: “Have you considered job security? You have a guaranteed salary and great benefits where you are now, so why rock the boat? How can you place your family in such jeopardy?”

 

I wonder how many men and women have missed the big picture for their lives by refusing to let go of the tiny part of the picture that made them feel secure?     

 

I wonder how many men and women have missed the big picture for their lives by refusing to let go of the tiny part of the picture that made them feel secure?    

 

 When someone gets saved, or when God calls a person to fulfill a specific assignment, the Holy Spirit will very often separate that person from his friends and even from his family for a while until he can begin to understand who he is in Christ and become established in that new identity. That person’s life in God may take a radically different direction than the way he was heading in the past. As a result, his divine destiny may not fit neatly inside other people’s expectations of “what he should do with his life.”

 

That’s why you need to be careful when you share the vision God has given to you with your friends. Be aware that some may try to keep you in the box of past patterns — the way they’ve always perceived you to be. As these friends talk to you about your dream, deep inside they may be thinking, Who are you to think that you’re different from us?

 

During these times of testing, we must believe and obey God rather than men. Although it’s true that the Holy Spirit will use the doubters and mockers to cause us to “count the cost,” it’s also true that pursuing God’s plan for our lives may cost us some friends! But if it comes to the point where a friend turns away from us because we decide to step out and obey God, we must ask ourselves if that person is truly our friend.

 

True God-given friends will not only encourage you in the faith, but they will also confront you and challenge you to reexamine what God has called you to do. If they have any concerns when you share the vision God has planted in your heart, they will take the same stand the Jewish leader Gamaliel took regarding the apostles’ belief that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. This great teacher of the Law stood up and declared to the other members of the Sanhedrin:

 

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. Acts 5:38,39     

 

As you press forward in fulfilling your dream, your true friends will stick with you through thick and thin, loving you through your failures as well as your successes.    

 

 If it becomes evident to these godly friends that God’s hand is on your plans, they will support and encourage you in the cause, even if they don’t totally understand it. If they do have doubts about the new direction you’re about to take, they won’t drag you into unbelief with their negative words and attitude. Instead, they will pray for you as they wait to receive more understanding on whether the dream you’re pursuing truly originated in God. And as you press forward in fulfilling your dream, your true friends will stick with you through thick and thin, loving you through your failures as well as your successes.

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