I hate when a dear brother or sister in Christ chooses the deceptions of the world rather than continue to live for Jesus. Their lives become ensnared in the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). I have watched in horror when lives and families have been turned upside down strewn with divorce, hurt, hopelessness, bitterness, lust, selfishness, rebellious/deceived kids left in the wake.
There is a huge price to be paid for our lusts and deceptions once expressed and lived out. Colossians 6:7&8 is very clear about this, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction.”
Apostle Paul describes this in Ephesians 4:17-19, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Descriptions of this person who Paul calls “living as the Gentiles do” are:
- “futility of thinking”
- “darkened in understanding”
- “separated from the life of God”
- “ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts”
- “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality indulging in every kind of impurity”
- “full of greed”
Many of us know dear friends who once lived lives that gloried God yet today are living a totally different lifestyle. What once was order is now chaos. You may be around them a lot or very little. What do you do? There are three, applicable nuggets in Ephesians:
- Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Kindness is forgiveness and love in action. Compassion is focus on the true needs of another. There is no judgment or condemnation in compassion. The root words in the original word translated “forgiving” are “joy” and “grace”. So, as far as it is up to you, be forgiving.
- Ephesians 4:15 states, “speak truth in love.”
- Ephesians 6:18, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Actively and intentionally pray recognizing the output may be a note, a personal contact, or an inexpensive, thoughtful gift.
How do you build connection with wayward friends or relationships? Pray daily for them which produces thoughtful actions asking Christ in a fresh way to express His forgiveness to them always speaking the truth in love.