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You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

Several years ago now, I worked in a warehouse driving forklift to load and unload trucks. I’m pretty sure I was the only Christ-follower in my department. This was made evident one day when we were in the foreman’s office killing some time. Soon jokes started flying that became more and more inappropriate. Apparently I didn’t hide my uneasiness with the situation. I said nothing, but excused myself from the office and went back to work.

After that whenever the conversation began to turn onto the ‘dirty side’ my foreman would look at me and, very respectfully, warn me that I may not want to hear the following story. I’d make some quip about having a truck to load and that would be the end of it.

I got along well with everyone in the department. I wasn’t a goody-two-shoe, Bible thumping preacher (at least not then!). I just had standards that were different than the rest of them and we respected those differences…I thought.

Christmas came and the foreman invited the entire department and their spouses to his house for dinner and drinks. In the days leading up to the party I’d overheard others talking about previous parties. I was torn. A part of me wanted nothing to do with the lifestyle that was being portrayed at those parties. But another part of me wanted to show my acceptance of my friends in the department, even though we were miles apart in what we considered appropriate.

The night of the party came and I reluctantly showed up at the party. I was, I admit, very apprehensive and already had an exit strategy planned if needed. I was surprised though. The foreman and his wife greeted each of us when we arrived. We were offered either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. I wasn’t the only one that chose the latter!

When it came time for the meal I was really taken by surprise. My cigarette smoking, foul language master and dirty joke coinsure asked me if I’d say a table grace before the meal! I made sure my lord Jesus was glorified in those few minutes of silence and the party went on.

After dinner we played a couple games and I left, knowing full well that some of the others may spend the night because they’d be in no condition to drive.

A few days later I was talking with a friend of mine from church. He said, “I hear you got to pray at the party the other night.” I was taken back! How did he know? Then Don told me another part of the story.

His cousin was Bob, one of my co-workers. I hadn’t known that before. The family had been praying for Bob for quite some time and so far the prayers were unanswered. Bob was very angry with me that night because of my ‘holier than thou’ attitude. I was self-righteous, judgmental and made Bob feel very uneasy.

I began to apologize to Don and told him my story, which was completely different that Bob’s. Don laughed. “I was pretty sure that was the case. Bob is under conviction. He knows what he is doing is wrong and he refuses to change. You weren’t bothering him. HE was bothering him!”

I never heard if Bob ever came to Christ. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. Try as we might to get along with the world, there will be times when we have to take a stand for the right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an open attack on ‘the sinful lifestyle’. It can be a quiet resolve to live what we know is right.

Not being a friend to the world doesn’t mean we reject those who don’t follow Christ. It simply means we hold to a different standard. At times that standard will put us at odds with others. The true Christ-follower will always choose to please Jesus rather than the world.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many voices telling me what is right and wrong. So many times I’m forced to make decisions that may go against the mainstream. I ask that you would empower me with your Holy Spirit to have the wisdom and strength to choose your way regardless of the results. May my life be an example of your love and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

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