Choosing Friends With a Positive Influence
A friendship is a foundational relationship in everyone’s natural domain. You could even call it forceful. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:19 (TLB) that “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” Yet we have very little Christian training on choosing our friends.
How Do You Choose Good Friends?
Our Creator made us to want relationships. We were designed to relate to others. But God in His sovereignty gave us the freedom to choose our friends.
What Are We Really Searching For?
There is a cross-shaped God-gap in your life and mine that only God can fill. The truth is that, in our innermost being, we yearn for Him.
Eternity in Heaven
The Bible says God calls you His friend if you have asked Jesus into your life. When we allow Jesus to take control of our lives, He comes in and we have this vertical relationship with God. We long for the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven.
We also yearn to relate to one another. Even as children, we want to relate and bond with each other. We connect with our parents, with family members, and with others, and it sort of just happens naturally.
But the important thing to think about is whom you have chosen for your friends. Think about the ‘they’ in your life. Who is speaking into your situation or circumstances? Whom are you listening to?
What a Difference Friendships Can Make
I had a friend in high school, and we played basketball together for many years. He was a great athlete. After a while, I noticed that he began to associate with the wrong group of people, the wrong clique, the wrong squad—whatever you want to say. I invited him over to my house and talked to him some, and I just knew he was messing around with the wrong crowd. I had other friends at school, but my real friends were in church.
Look for healthy friendships in church
The church is the only place to meet the right kind of people, or the ‘they’ who will influence you in a positive way in the years to come. You might stumble over a good friend now and then somewhere else, but 99.9% of the time, it’s going to be in church.
The danger of negative friendships
My basketball friend started messing around with stuff and he got involved with stealing some things and then he spent a little bit of time away. Yet he always came back and we forgave him. After I moved out of state, I lost touch with him. I asked around about him… nothing.
But when I was a newlywed, the phone rang one night. I picked it up and my friend said, “Ed, have you heard about our friend?”
I said, “No, I’ve not heard from him in years.”
He said, “Well, are you sitting down?”
I said, “Do I need to be?”
He said, “Yeah. He murdered somebody and he’s in the state penitentiary.”
I was shocked. “You’ve got to be kidding!” This guy came from a great family and had so much going for him.
The next time I visited the town where I grew up, I made an appointment with my high school friend. I walked into the state penitentiary and went through door after door. Finally, I got to the prison yard.
I was sitting at a picnic table when he walked up to me, tears streaming down his face.
I said, “What happened?”
And he said four words I’ll never forget: “I had these friends.”
6 Questions to Ask When Choosing Friends
#1. Do they motivate you to love God more?
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) says, “…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today.’” Your friends should be in a relationship with the Lord and should encourage you in your daily walk.
#2. Do they celebrate God’s blessings in your life?
Proverbs 11:10 (NLT) says, “The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed.” Choose friends who will celebrate with you and not be jealous of your success.
#3. Do they have your back?
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV) reads, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” The Bible tells the story of Daniel. He was in a foreign, hostile nation, but his friends were in solidarity with him. When they were thrown into the fire, God miraculously saved them.
#4. Do they hold you accountable out of love and friendship?
Proverbs 27:6 (NIV) says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” When King David messed up, he had the prophet Nathan to hold him accountable.
#5. Do they live what they believe?
Psalm 119:63 (NIV) states, “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.”
#6. Do they have the right ‘they’ in their lives?
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV) guides us: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Look at your relationships, and your friends’ relationships as well. Are you in fellowship with other believers? Are your best friends Christians?
Ask God for Wisdom When Choosing Friends
You don’t just drift into relationships. You’re not accidentally sucked into the vortex of a connection with another person. We choose our friends, and we need to choose wisely.
Ask God for wisdom to show you if there are relationships you need to let go of. Think about the influence of others in your life.
What did THEY influence you to do that you would not have done if they hadn’t been around?
Also, think about what they’re doing. What do they really do? What are they about? What makes them tick?
And then, finally, where are they going? What roads are they taking in life? Where are they leading you? Because if you run with the crowd, the crowd will run you.
Don’t let yourself be influenced by friendships that don’t reflect the Christian morals, values, and goals you have for your life. Be intentional about choosing godly friends who will encourage you and grow with you in your faith. Church IS a great place to meet good friends!
Join us in person or online at Fellowship Church, where we connect and find new, positive Christian friends who build each other up in the faith.
Want to learn more? Watch the related sermon.