They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. -Acts 2:42
And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. -Hebrews 10:24-25
It is nearly impossible to avoid other humans beings altogether, but it can be quite easy to avoid spending time in the company of people who will really challenge you, people who will stir you to love and good works as Hebrews says. When we strike out on our own it can be easy to remain that way. We are enjoying our freedom, and the last thing we want is an accountability partner, or close friend who will confront us when we do something wrong. Without people around us to challenge and encourage us we will find the real world difficult to survive, and we will also be disobeying one of the Lord's commands for His people, to gather together.
When moving to a new place, or perhaps just starting a new phase of life, it is important that we are involved in a local church body. We must have people with whom we can pray, study God's Word, and be Christ's love to the community around us. We need people whom we can encourage, and people who can lift us up. I am looking forward to finding a new church when I move away to school in the fall. I know it won't be easy to meet new people and make friends, but by God's grace I will find the body of believers that He has prepared for me. I have in mind aspects of a church that I will be looking for, but I also want to allow the Lord to lead me, and not allow my presuppositions to get in the way of His will.
At any point in our lives we are meeting new people and making new friends. At this crucial time, but also at all times, it is vital that we make wise choices when it comes to who we spend time with. Are we making friends who will build us up, or ones that will tear us down? Do the people you are often around have the same goals that you do? Do they have the same passion for Christ, the same desire to be satisfied in Him? Is their conversation edifying, their actions pure? We often place ourselves on a pedestal by thinking that we can improve the character of those whom we spend time with. We fool ourselves into thinking that they have no effect on us when in reality they are changing us in very subtle ways. Pray that the Lord will bring you friends after His own heart. Companions who will challenge you to grow closer to Him.
As soon as you can choose a friend that has become close to you, a friend that builds you up and that you have a lot in common with, and ask them to hold you accountable. Build upon the friendship that God has blessed you with and use it to encourage and challenge each other. God will be glorified. Meet once or twice a week to talk through mistakes that have been made, pray for each other, and ask for strength to live under God's grace for the next week.
We often take our family for granted, and when we leave for college, or move out of our parent's home this doesn't really change. Make an effort to keep in touch with your family on a regular basis. Continue to encourage your siblings and go out of your way to bless them, especially if you have younger siblings that need role models and someone to look up to. Continue seeking your parent's advice, letting them know that their opinions still matter to you, and that you appreciate their input and admonition. Ask them to pray for specific things, and keep updated on what they are dealing with at home. Don't burn your bridges behind you, keep the lines of communication open, and perhaps you may find that when you return home you actually have a better relationship with your family than when you left.
Let us not forsake fellowship in any of the forms mentioned above. It is so important to our growth in Christ. As we search for the path the Lord has for us, may the friends we make, and the mentors we acquire, guide us in prayer and encouragement toward that path.