Dear Pastor,

First of all, I will be praying for you, for you are facing a real challenge going after a wandering sheep that may want to wander still. As a pastor myself I, too, deal with such people, for we don’t want them to be lost. It is vital for us and them to maintain a daily connection with Christ. The apostle Paul realized that even he had to be diligent in maintaining his daily walk with Jesus in order to not end up a castaway, “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

You are dealing with a very serious situation with one who is slipping back into his old lifestyle. 2 Peter 2:19-22 says, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, (‘As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.’ Proverbs 26:11), The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

I prayed about your question, S___, and this is what I believe the Lord has laid on my heart. Jesus taught the teachers and the searchers for truth by asking direct, “to the point” questions. I would suggest that you ask your friend,

“Just exactly what do you want out of life and out of eternity? Because Jesus loves you and will allow you to have what you choose for yourself. Of course, every choice brings with it rewards or consequences, though Jesus loves you still, unconditionally.”

Jesus speaks of two roads one can take in life when He says: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, (‘the wages of sin is death’, Romans 6:23) and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23), and few there be that fnd it.”

Anyway, if he answers, “Freedom, Liberty,” share with him the texts or reason with him from the principle of the texts, James 1:25 – “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” And, James 2:10-12, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”

If he answers, “Peace,” share with him the text, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalms 119:165)

If he answers, “All that life has to offer,” share with him the words of Jesus, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

If he answers, “Joy, Happiness, Success, Self-gratification, etc.”, you might share this bit of counsel with him. “God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression is the path of misery and destruction.”

I sum it all up in this way, “Father knows best…!”

I hope this little epistle will be helpful to you in shepherding your flock. Also, I would encourage you to read through my web site thoroughly, especially right now the Featured Article, “A Rainbow of Promises.”

All Power to you!