Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
Sometimes it is the masses that sway us in our decisions. At times, it is the close-knit group we have known for some time. Often, it is a very close friend who will be a deciding influence in our decision-making.
It may be a movie, a television show, a radio broadcast, a podcast, a conference, music lyrics, or just a documentary that sways our thought to accept a belief that may very well turn into a stronghold in our life.
But if we deny that our friend’s influence will mold and shape who we are, we fool ourselves.
I can see that the crowd that I chose to relate to began to have defining characteristics. Whether it was academics, music, sports, or purely social, the friends I had chosen had a significant influence on my life.
As a parent, I’ve seen the influence certain ‘friends’ had on our children’s lives. There were times when we had to separate them from that one ‘friend’ because of the influence they were having on them. The music we listen to, the things that enter our ‘eye-gate,’ and ‘ear-gate’ are influences that we control.
Over time, we allow people to come in and out of our lives. But there are those to whom we grant access to our inner sanctum; our inner circle. It is there that we take their counsel above others. It is there we allow their influence to have power over ours.
If we do not have a set of principles or qualifications for those we grant access, we lose control of our direction and influence on our own life.
Solomon saw this by God-given wisdom and wrote to us in the book of Proverbs as a warning. He gives us one of a few criteria by which God helps us to chose our friends.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Loyalty and faithfulness are often hard to find in a good friend. Through our lives’ seasons, one who will be with through the ugliest times will be faithful to the end. But we must also be the type of friend we seek.
Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Another characteristic of a good friend, a true friend, is telling us things we are not willing to say to ourselves. This type of friendship takes trust and faith that one speaks to us in love and cares for our best interest.
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
When metal strikes metal, there is an opportunity for sparks to fly, possibly igniting a fire. A good friend will have the courage to speak when all others remain silent. They believe that pointing out a flaw or imminent danger is more important than keeping things peaceful.
They are willing to risk the friendship for higher ideals, deeper trust, and honest communication. Far too often, we live on the surface with so many, we come to accept that is how life should be.
When we can share our life’s intimacies and intricacies with that true friend, we find it binds us together and brings a calm to our life.
A good friend will be a sounding board for our thoughts because we know their interaction has our best interest in mind.
Solomon also gives us this:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”
God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. That is why He created Eve. It is innate that we have someone with which to share our life. Our Heavenly Father created us to need each other. Friends help to fill that void.
But passing on to the spiritual realm, how is our friendship with the God of Heaven? He tells us, His children, that we will never be alone.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Have we allowed Him into that inner sanctum of our hearts? Do we converse with honesty and transparency?
I have come to accept that if God knows ALL my thoughts – even those before I think them, He is privy to who I am on the inside more than any friend or spouse could ever know.
Not only are all my thoughts open and clear to Him, but God also is not shocked by what I’ve done, said, who I’ve been with, or where I have been. Because I am fully, wholly, accepted, loved, and secure in Christ, I can rest assured that He will lead me and guide my life to be the best version of what He created me to be.
We may all have our dreams of who we want to be or what we desire to do. But, My God has gifted us and given us talents for a specific purpose. He has works for us to accomplish. Tasks set before the world began.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Jesus Himself was our example. He could not go beyond the boundaries set my the Father for what He was to do here on earth.
John 5:36 “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.”
In search of real friends? Trust God to show us just who would be the best friend(s) in our life. We may feel like a hand in glove with someone, but are they God’s choice? We, who are the children of God, must relinquish that choice to the One who knows us best.
Take stock of your friendships today and ask yourself a few questions.
Is this friend loyal to stick with me through the good as well as the bad?
Does this friend help me to draw closer to God or pull me away?
Does this friend help me to be better?
Am I more faithful to God because of this friend?
Do they possess qualities I want to see in my own life, and would those qualities be pleasing to God?
There are many other questions to be asked, I’m sure, but I think you get the idea.
It is never too later to change. It becomes difficult to depart from those with which we share a long history. We must consider the end of the matter. Is God pleased with my choices of friends?
And so it begins…