The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ ESV Matthew 11:19
Yes, I know your mom told you to be careful who you make friends with. She probably quoted “bad company corrupts good morals” (citing Paul no less). She probably urged you to hang around believers so you wouldn’t be corrupted. While all of this is good and has it’s place, it wasn’t the life Jesus lived. Jesus made friends with sinners. So much so, that he was considered a glutton and drunkard (hardly the reputation we usually seek). What’s the application for us as Christ followers in our spiritual formation?
Jesus called us to follow Him. If that’s the case, then I guess we need to ask ourselves if we have a reputation as a glutton and a drunk. Are we friends with tax collectors and sinners? If not, are we really being like Jesus? Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He boldly proclaimed the well have no need of a physician. If this was His mission, and if He called us to join in His mission, how are we doing? I know for myself, I’m slowly getting better, but I don’t have the reputation of a drunk (yet). I still have strong reservations about going all-in in that regard. However, God’s grace is slowly leading me there. I lead a Bible study that consists mostly of unchurched people (they are actually really cool–not drunks, tax collectors and sinners–just regular people who are interested in what the Bible has to say about stuff). It’s a great study to be a part of. I’m trying to build relationships with others who walk outside of “churched” circles, and it’s becoming the highlight of my life.
I think there’s something about getting to know people who don’t know Christ that’s invigorating and exciting. It’s like you finally are joining Christ on His mission. It just feels right. It feels like that’s what spiritual formation and spiritual maturity may really be about–loving people who don’t know Christ so that they might come to know Him. I hope you have lots of sinful friends. I hope your reputation is tarnished in Christian circles because of it. You just may be like Jesus!