I have had conversations with a few friends who, like myself, reached a breaking point in their lives where they had hit a wall, and desperately needed to get close to God. They hungered for more than life as usual, namely, a lifestyle of slavery to bad habits, friends that encouraged self-compromise, or an aimless pattern of living without a sense of purpose. When we speak about how our lives changed after choosing to walk with God, I notice that one thing that rings true in all of our experiences. Upon deciding that we needed God’s change, we all made aggressive attempts to change the company we kept.
For me, that meant going through my contact list on my cell phone and deleting several phone numbers. I deleted some Facebook connections, and avoided certain social events like the plague. If it meant being by myself on Friday and Saturday nights in college, instead of being amongst the wrong company, then so it was. And I kept at this diligently. I remember once running into an old friend that I had not seen for months, and he teased me, saying he thought I had decided to become a monk. I guess the change I was making was extremely drastic. But as I say in these things, it depends on what you are seeking for your life. Nothing that I had touched, tasted, owned, etc. could satisfy the hunger that had welled up inside of me. Nothing except God.
The question here is why is a separation process necessary? My experience has shown me that the more time you spend with someone, the more you expose yourself to their qualities. And the more you expose yourself to these qualities, the faster you absorb them as your own. Proverbs 13:20 illustrates this well when it says, whoever walks with wise people will be wise, but whoever associates with fools will suffer. So, if you keep company with slanderers, procrastinators, slothful people, malicious people, and so on, do not be surprised when your life begins to exhibit these qualities.
But here is the most important part. When you separate yourself, you must then spend more time with God. Spend more time worshipping Him, spend more time praying, spend more time in His Word (the Bible). The more you expose yourself to Him, the more He pours His priceless qualities into you. He pours compassion, He pours creativity, He pours ideas, He pours Boldness with a capital B! Boldness to be who He made you to be. As He works on you, He flushes out the mess that you once had in your heart. Moreover, He takes you on a thrilling journey of self-discovery. And as for those friends you let go of, He replaces them with people that inspire you to grow. I am a firsthand witness of this.