DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know I shouldn’t be this way, but whenever I get around my friends I begin swearing like they do and in general acting as if Jesus weren’t important to me — although he is. I wish I had more backbone. How can I stop acting like this? — M.J.
DEAR M.J.: In your heart, you know God doesn’t want you to act this way, not just because profanity is wrong, but also because you aren’t helping your friends find Christ. God’s will is for us to be “blameless and pure, children of God without fault … as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).
Have you ever asked yourself why you behave this way? One reason, I suspect, is because you want to be liked, and you’re afraid your friends will reject you if you don’t act like they do. You aren’t alone, of course; no one likes to be rejected. But this easily leads us astray, because it means we’re always following the crowd — and the crowd is often wrong. Jesus warned us not to be like those who believed in him but refused to confess it openly, because “they loved human praise more than praise from God” (John 12:43).
What should you do? First, make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ. Have you confessed your sins to him and asked him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior? Don’t be satisfied with a vague faith, but give your life to Christ today. Remember: He gave his life for you; why do anything less in return?
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Then take a public stand for Christ with your friends. Let them know you value their friendship, but that you now belong to Christ, and you value his friendship above all. Seek his approval, not the approval of the crowd.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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