Choose Your Friends Carefully
One of the greatest hindrances to an individual’s spiritual growth can be the friends that one keeps. This is even more of a threat if one is newly born again and keeps friends who are not believers.
What does the Bible teach us about friendships?
Proverbs 12:26 [NKJV] “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 [NKJV] “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'”
These Scriptures clearly warn us that if you are born again, do not hang out with friends who are not believers. Even if you think you are strong and will withstand temptations that may come, eventually you will give in.
In the Old Testament, God was so concerned about the negative influence of friends and other people leading His people (the Israelites) astray into worshipping other false gods that God required that if any person attempted to influence another into worshipping other gods, the person who was being asked to worship other gods had to kill such a person.
Deuteronomy 13:6-10 [NLT] “Suppose someone secretly entices you–even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend–and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’–gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery.”
Obviously, we do not live under such laws today and these laws were meant only for the Israelites before Jesus came into the world. But, what is clear from this passage is that our closest friends (and even family members) may be the biggest threat to our spirituality if we allow them to entice us away from God.
If we are serious about our relationship with God, we should seek godly friends.
What are the qualities of a godly friend?
1. They will build you up and encourage you in your relationship with God and with words of faith
– Proverbs 27:17 [NLT] “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
2. They will give you honest advice
– Proverbs 27:9 [NLT] “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
3. They will confront you with the truth, even if this is unpleasant and causes discomfort
– Proverbs 27:6 [NLT] “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
4. They will be a source of help in times of need (better than relying on a blood brother)
– Proverbs 27:10 [NLT] “Never abandon a friend–either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.”
5. They will always be loyal
– Proverbs 17:17 [NLT] “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
This means a real friend will stand up for you even when you are not there to defend yourself and will help you in your time of need.
6. They will protect you, defend you and pray for you
– Ecclesiastes 4:12 [NLT] “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
The third person in that relationship should be God.
7. They will be willing to make serious sacrifices for your sake
– John 15:13 [NLT] Jesus: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
While we should not expect a friend to sacrifice their life for us, the mark of a good friend is one who is prepared to make sacrifices that come at a cost or unnecessary inconvenience to them but they make such sacrifice for our benefit because they have made a decision to give of themselves to our benefit.
Jesus demonstrated the highest level of friendship by laying his life down for us so that we may be saved. This is the ultimate sacrifice that a human being can make for another.
Are you a good friend to others? If you do not recognize the above qualities in you in how you treat your friends, perhaps it is because you have not yet made Jesus Lord of your life.
If you would like to receive the gift of salvation that God has for you today, make a decision in your own heart that you want to be forgiven of your sins and that you wish to turn your back on a sinful life. Believe in the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ [Mark 1:15]. The Bible says if you confess with your mouth (i.e. actually say it) that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you will receive salvation [Romans 10:9-10]. Salvation is open to any human being who calls upon the name of the Lord [Romans 10:12-13].
If you want to get saved right now:
First silently read the text in the paragraph below and make sure you understand it. It is a confession prayer you can use to get born again this very moment.
If in your heart you agree with the content of the statement below then, read it again, but this time say it with your mouth out loud as you read it:
“Father, I thank You that you sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to take my sins and my punishment. Lord Jesus, I believe that You died for me and that God raised You from the dead. Today I confess that You are my Lord and my Saviour. Father, forgive me of all of my sins. Thank You Father that today, by Your grace, I am born again, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Did you say the above prayer sincerely to receive Jesus Christ into your life? If so, please click on “yes” below to get guidance on what to do next.