Last night, I got my Bible out to read and, I started reading in the book I had been reading in, 2 Chronicles, but it just didn't feel like the right place to read. So I thought about how I had heard a lot about Paul in recent months and I wanted to read a bit in 1 Corinthians. At first I read chapter 13, already knowing that it was about love being the greatest of faith, hope and love. Well, I did of course still get a message out of that chapter, but the more important message I found was in chapter 3. My Bible has headings throughout it to help you understand what is going on, and at the beginning of chapter 3 it says, "Do not follow others." This got to me because it's actually something I've been struggling with. I do strive to be my own person and make my own choices but at the same time, I am always, ALWAYS, asking for someone else's advice. I'm almost always asking them to tell me what to do.
Here, let me explain a bit more about what has happened in the past year or so. The whole story actually starts four years ago, but I'll give you the short version by saying that I met someone the summer before my Freshman year in high school that quickly became one of my closest friends. For the purpose of this story, we'll call him Jack. Well, as of January of this year, Jack was 22 years old, still living at home, attending his third year at a community college, and yet to have a job. Not to mention, he had yet to tell his parents that he talked to me online quite a bit, usually just on weekends and by e-mail throughout the week. All of those factors started really bugging me because, I was a high school senior heading straight to a state university, graduated as salutatorian and had had a job for over two years. And, my parents knew all about Jack. Another important part of this puzzle is that I also spent a lot of my spare time posting on a message board site for a book series I've read (that is huge and so I don't actually remember all of it!). This past January, a newcomer and I started chatting more than I would've liked. I wasn't sure what to think of the guy, but I could tell he really really liked me, especially since he kept saying that he wanted to come and visit. I was cautious, thinking it sounded too good to be true. Nonetheless, I continued talking to both Jack and....we'll call the other guy Sean. I kept complaining to Sean about everything that bothered me about Jack. Knowing all this, Sean told me what I wanted to hear by saying he would do basically the exact opposite of what Jack had done. Then, towards the end of February, I told Jack that I was done, that I couldn't take it anymore, that I was tired of waiting after I had promised to wait for as long as necessary. Jack and I shared a bond that is indescribable. We may have never met, but we knew each other extremely well...so well we could tell each others moods through words across a screen, we didn't even have to hear voice inflections or see facial expressions to know if something was wrong. But I let myself become vulnerable by worrying about things that, in the grand scheme of things, would more than likely turn out all right in the end. I allowed Sean to get inside of my head and make decisions for me rather than make my own, and that cost me one of the closest friends I have ever had.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul is telling the people to only follow God, to let him take the lead. I prayed daily that God would help me allow Him to take control, and even then, I still faltered in following the path He set before me.
Last Friday, Jack sent me an e-mail in reply to one I sent him (I sent him an apology e-mail after Sean came and visited and I realized just how completely stupid and idiotic I had been. I thought that by doing that I would be able to move on and continue, but I'm learning that I cannot just stand by and let Jack simply disappear). In this e-mail he told me to take a deep breath to calm my mind, to take as many as it takes to calm my mind, and then just pray. Pray that God will give me guidance, that he will lead toward the path that I must take. I did, and here is what I learned. I learned that I must trust that God knows best, fear God for His awesome power, and live for my savior, Jesus Christ.
In relation to the situation I am currently going through, I learned that it is the narrow path I must take, the one of complete and brutal honesty. As I told Jack in the e-mail I sent to him Saturday, I used Sean to avoid him. I was afraid that Jack was being dishonest with me because he had not been honest with his parents, so I avoided the source of the problem by ridding myself of it in the worst possible way, by pushing away a wonderful friend.
The main lesson I have learned from all of this, including the chapter I read last night, is that we as humans cannot leave our choices and decisions up to just anyone we come across, or even our closest friends. Yes, we can ask for advice, but the one whose advice you should be most willing to take is the advice that comes from above, from our Father in heaven. It is He who makes this world continue its perpetual movement, so we should fear Him and obey His commands, or else we will suffer in His wrath.