Look to your left. Now look to your right. Don’t focus on what you see, but notice who you can see. Who are the people that are influencing your life the most at this very moment? A wise man once said, “You are who your friends are or you soon will be.” And how true that is! The friends you choose to hang around, will either draw you closer to Christ or will pull you far away from Him. We must realize that the choice of our friendships has extreme consequences–whether that be good or bad. Ask yourself the following questions about your friends:
- Do they love Jesus Christ sincerely? The Bible warns believers to not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” This means we are to not have intimate connections with someone who does not walk with Christ. Why? Because it’s hard to walk on two different paths at the same time. You “cannot serve God and mammon [the things/ideas of the lost world]” (Matthew 6:24).
- Do they tell you when you’re wrong? Everyone knows, the sign of a true friend is someone who will look you in the eye and “tell you like it is.” They won’t beat around the bush because they care enough about you that they are not just going to stand back and watch you destroy yourself. Proverbs 27: 6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy is deceitful.” Who in your life is willing to wound you for your own good? It would probably be safe to say they are a good influence for you.
- Do they strengthen your walk with Christ? This is simple, but completely necessary. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” One of the best examples of this in Scripture is found in I Samuel where we meet a close and beloved friend of David named Jonathan. First Samuel 23:16 says that Jonathan “strengthened his [David’s] hand in God.” David was in a time of despair and confusion running for his life from King Saul (Jonathan’s father). Fear engulfed his heart, and nothing uplifted him more than to be strengthened and encouraged by his friend. Can you find encouragement and help in your friends? Or are they the type to abandon you at a seemingly better opportunity? Choose those that will strengthen you in the Lord, because I promise you, YOU’LL NEED IT ONE DAY!
- Do they provoke you to do right?Hebrews 10:24 challenges Christians: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Do your peers hold you back from all God wants you to be? Do they provoke you to do things you know God would not be pleased with? Be wise, and place yourself around other wise men that walk with God daily! (Proverbs 13:20)