Every once in awhile, I take stock of who I am now and compare it to the person I used to be. I try not to make it an exercise in beating myself up, but rather a way of measuring the sign posts on this journey of faith.
Leading a bible study was a big one, as was preaching for the first time. I was immensely thankful and challenged deeply by both. Anyone who prayed for me in either endeavor has me in their debt.
My group of friends has changed dramatically too. I don’t, shall we say, run in the same crowd that I used to hang with. Today, all of my closest friends are of faith, putting me in a circle that holds me accountable and points me to Christ in all situations.
Please don’t think that is sanctimonious, because it isn’t meant to be. None of us are holier-than-thou, and we’re all real about our flaws and tribulations. In a lot of ways, we’re all messes, and we’re frank about that. These are genuine, honest, hard-working people and because I want to hang with them, so must I be as well. I’m forced to keep up.
After all, the Apostle Paul tells us:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I’ve seen it, up close and personal, and I don’t want that to be me.