We don’t have to wait for the Rapture to leave people behind. Many new Christians find that they leave behind friends and loved ones. Peter tells us how those left behind think we’re strange.
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1 Peter 4:3-4 KJV)
Christ himself heard a bit of this. Many in His hometown were astonished at what He was doing.
Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Matthew 13:55-56 KJV)
I have met and enjoyed many who came to Christ as children, raised in a godly family. Their joy of salvation is no less than any other, but the change in lifestyle often goes unnoticed. They continue their faithful attendance in His service and their friendships are built with church families.
Others come to Him filled with consequences of their actions and everything in their daily life is affected. It might be as simple as changing language, ceasing to take the Lord’s name in vain and moving away from those who continue to do so. It may be leaving behind a life of addiction – and there are many addictions that supplant God. Once He is given precedence, it is necessary to move away from those who continue their addictions.
Those left behind often do not understand why, which gives the new Christian an opportunity to witness. Some feel not just left behind, but left out. Defending their sinful lifestyles, they denigrate the change in the Christian’s life, seeking to bring them back to the level they left.
Is it worth it? You’d have to ask the individual Christian. For some, it isn’t and they return to their old habits. Christ spoke of them in the parable of the sower. His disciples didn’t understand the parable, so He explained further:
The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:14-19 KJV)
Does the above apply? Or this one:
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:20 KJV)
Unlike the sown seeds, we don’t have to stay on the stony ground or among thorns. We can move to find growth and sustenance. We will still have to endure, experience affliction and/or persecution and face cares and deceitfulness of this world. But, we’ll have the congregation, friends, pastor, God’s word and our Lord Himself helping us bring forth fruit.