...If the Lord is the Lord of them. And a Friend will not say never... Anyone else singing along with me right now? That is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and you cannot stop singing it for like 3 days. You're welcome. :) But true friendship is a truly valuable thing and something that has tremendous influence on our lives. Even when we want to convince ourselves otherwise. How many of us have had times or seasons in our lives where our choice in friends led us down a road we wish we would have stayed clear of? How many of you are living that life right now and are not sure how to get off that road and start traveling in a new direction?
Today we read some of the wisdom in scripture concerning friendship and companionship. The people we choose to be our influencers can have, and will have, a profound impact on our life and the direction it takes. Proverbs 13:20 says:
"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
This doesn't mean that we shun people who may be acting foolishly in their lives but it should cause us to consider who we allow to be influencers in our life. Who is it that we spend the most time with? What is it that we spend that time doing? Is my time spent doing, thinking, acting upon, listening to, etc.. things that are foolish and ungodly or do I spend time being edified by the Word and those who will be an encouragement to me, those who will point me toward righteousness and living in a way that honors God not in a way that displeases him.
We are called to be holy as HE is holy. Does that mean that we can somehow attain perfect righteousness? Not at all! But we are called to live our lives for the glory of his name and even though we mess up because of our fallen nature, we have an advocate who through his death on the cross provided a way for us to be forgiven our our sins (mess ups) and restore us to right relationship with God almighty. We, the church, are called the pure spotless bride of Christ. WE are without blemish before him because of his grace and mercy but that doesn't give us license to live however we please.
And often the decisions we make are most influenced by those we choose to keep company with. We have all heard our parents say at one point or another in life, "If Johnny were to jump of a cliff would you do it too?" We all want to feel a part of something or be connected to others in a bond of friendship at some level but the Bible tells us to be careful with whom we choose to make that bond.
This is a message that often gets preached to students in high school but it really isn't a juvenile message. It is as true for students trying to make it through jr high and high school as it is for us as adults. There is SOO much truth in Proverbs 12:26, and yet so many people do not head these words when it comes to friendship and who they allow their influencers to be.
"A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." - Proverbs 12:26
So today I would ask you to consider who it is that you find you most often run to when you need counsel. Who is it that you rely on more than anyone else? Who is it that you have chosen to be a key influencer in you life? and then ask, "Are they leading to be more like Christ?" "Are they causing me to act, speak, live, and think as Christ would ask me to?" Is the counsel and friendship one that will last because of the foundation of Christ? Will we truly be "friends forever"?
If you cannot answer that last question with a yes, are you doing everything you can to point them toward Christ so that you can, with certainty, say you will be friends for all eternity?
One final thought. I don't want you to mishear me. I am not saying that we can only be friends with people who are believers but I am saying, that at some point, if we are not careful, we are the ones who become the influenced and not the ones doing the influencing. We have to be very cautious about who it is that we connect ourselves to for this very reason. We live in a fallen world and we are going to rub shoulders with people who live in it, but we must begin to surround ourselves with people who will point us to and encourage us in our walk with Christ so that we can truly fulfill the great commission that was given to us by Christ himself. To go into all the world and make disciples. But when we are not connected to the fountain head of wisdom and truth it becomes increasingly difficult to make disciples and point others toward Christ if we ourselves are not connect to Him.
One final question to ponder:
If you are not fishing are you truly following?
(Christ said to his disciples, "Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.")