PROVERBS 22:24-25: “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: How do my friends affect my life? When was the last time that I took an honest look at the people that I spend time with? Am I influencing the lives of my friends, or are they influencing mine?
We all need friends. One thing that we have learned during the pandemic of 2020 is that we are not meant to be alone. Every man, woman, and child hungers for companionship. God created us with this need. It is part of His very nature. He created us because He desired fellowship with us. Friendship, and the need for friendship, comes from the very heart of God!
- “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NKJV
However, the people we choose to be our friends will either make us or break us. Friendship is much more than a mere acquaintance. Friends are people we allow into our lives. We share our thoughts and dreams with them, and they share their thoughts and dreams with us. We spend time, quality time with friends. And, in the process, we establish both emotional and spiritual ties.
This is why choosing our friends wisely is so very important. Our friends will either lift us upward or they will take us down to their level. We will learn and share their feelings and beliefs. We will become like our friends. This is why the Solomon writes,
- “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.”
No one is a perfect friend. We are all sinners saved by grace. Yet, we are either walking by God’s grace or living in our brokenness. How many times have we read the tragic story of someone who has tried to save someone who was drowning, only to be pulled down and drowned in the process. We will become the very worst of those we are friends with.
I have seen many solid believers fall into the wrong path because of the friends they chose. Many have begun with a noble objective to help their friend. Yet, over time, the friend who was not willing to change, changed the friend who was trying to affect the change. It was the drowning swimmer effect all over again.
So how do we choose a friend wisely? We will never find a perfect friend. And, we will never be a perfect friend to others. However, we can be an affirming friend. We can be and choose friends that are pressing on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We can choose friends who are walking in faith, running to the cross when they fail, and calling for the best that God has for both of our lives.
This takes some honest evaluation. Are my friends calling me in an upward trajectory to become more like Christ, or do I find myself spiraling toward my old attitudes and actions as I spend time with them? I need to show love to everyone. I need to be a light and a witness to everyone. Yet, I need to choose my friends wisely!
When I was in college I was attracted to a young girl. She was very beautiful and engaging. I was a new Christian and I was praying for the Lord to lead me to my life partner. I thought – perhaps it is her! I asked her out on a date. During that date I shared the Lord with her and she shared how much she liked to party and get high. I asked her out again. I thought – maybe I can lead her to the Lord! I soon learned that missionary dating does not work. It was either the Lord or the girl. I needed to choose the Lord!
Since that time I have tried to choose my friends wisely. I have a lot of good friends, but I only have a handful of friends that I share everything with. These are the friends who are pursuing the high calling of God in Christ Jesus and are always there to challenge me, speak the truth into my life, and encourage me in the same. I become a better follower of Jesus Christ because of these friends. And, I am able to be a better friend to them too!
These thoughts would be remiss without mentioning social media. Today, many have numerous friends on social media that are planting negative thoughts into the lives of others. They are working against the cause of Christ and trying to tear down other’s faith. At the very least we must have the courage to unfollow someone if they are negatively affecting our walk of faith. Sometimes they are family members and we do not want to “unfriend” them. However, we are not obligated to follow and read their posts. Solomon had no idea of Facebook when he wrote these words – but they apply just the same.
We need to choose our friends wisely! And, we need to be a better friend to others!
Lord, I want to be a good friend to others. I want to be a friend that is willing to lay down his life, as You laid down Your life for me. I want to speak words of truth, life, and faith so that others can grow in their love for You. Give me the grace to be a good friend and grant me discernment to choose my friends wisely.
In Jesus Name!