Does your choice of friends matter to your Christian faith?
For those of you who have really entered into a true Spirit-filled, fully-surrendered walk with the Lord where He is now leading your life in the direction that He will want it to go in – one of the first things that you will find happening is that God will start to prune out the people that He does not want in your life and start to bring in the people that He does want in your life.
As you will see in the Scripture verses I will list below, the Bible tells us to choose our friends very carefully in this life. These verses will tell us that he who walks with wise people will become wise himself, but that he who keeps company with fools will be destroyed.
The Bible tells us that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, that we are to stay away from people who cause divisions and offenses, and to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly.
This does not mean that we cannot work with the lost, the downtrodden, and the people who need to find God and His message of eternal salvation.
When Jesus came to our earth in the flesh, He always went after the sinners and the outcasts. But when Jesus went after these sinners, it was always for the express purpose of getting them saved and cleaned up.
Jesus did not chase after everyone. He ripped on the Pharisees and many of the high-ranking Jewish leaders. Some people are open to be helped, others are not. The Bible tells us to stay away from people who are considered to be “dogs,” and to beware of people who are “evil workers.”
One of the first things that God will do with your life once you come into a full surrender with Him is to start to set some boundary lines. He will now decide the path that you will follow in Him. He will now be leading you into the specific jobs that He will want you to have in this life.
If you are single and have not married yet, He will lead you to the mate that He will want you to marry if it is in His perfect will that you get married in this life.
And once those boundary lines start to go up – one of the first things that God will do is to decide who is going to be coming into those boundary lines and who will be going out.
In other words, God will be deciding who your true friends are going to be in this life and who will not.
The main reason God will be helping you to choose who your true friends are going to be in this life is because His ultimate and highest aim for you is to transform and sanctify you.
In other words, He wants you to spiritually grow and mature in your walk with Him.
The Bible tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. God’s ultimate aim for us is our sanctification – where He starts to begin to mold and transform us into the express image of His Son Jesus Christ.
The main reason that God will start to take out the friends in your life that He does not want you to have is because some of these people may be negative influences in your life.
They may not be open to growing and maturing in the Lord like you will be, and all they will do is try and hold you back when you start your own spiritual journey and growth in the Lord.
They will start criticizing and making fun of you and all they will end up doing is stunting your growth in the Lord.
God will not be putting up with this, and He will thus be taking all of these bad and negative influences out of your life very early on once you enter into this full surrender with Him. For those of you who are married and have children – it is the same thing when you do not want your children hanging out with other children who you know would be a bad and negative influence on your child.
You know that if your children start hanging out with the wrong type of crowd, they can become very easily corrupted in a very short period of time. As a result, you will become very protective with your children, and you will watch them very closely when they are old enough to start choosing who their friends are going to be.
It is the exact same way with God the Father! This is why God will be moving very early on to take out these negative influences in your life.
Once this starts to happen, you have to go with the program or you could cause God to start pulling back on you. And once that starts to happen, you could then start to backslide and everything could then start to shut down.
If you will allow God to prune out the people that He does not want you to have in your life – then what He will start to do is to bring in the people that He will want to have in your life.
I call these types of friends “God-friends.” These people will be other good, godly, Spirit-filled Christians who are truly walking in good stead with the Lord and they will now be the people that He will want you to share your walk with!
As you will see in the Scripture verses listed below – you will need other good, solid, Christian friends in your life to help you grow in the Lord.
The Bible tells us that we can only “know in part.” No one has all of the answers to everything.
By sharing your walk with other good, solid, Christian friends, you can each help each other out in your pursuit of the knowledge and ways of God.
You will know some things about God they may not know, and they will know some things that you may not know. You thus are able to help contribute to each other’s storehouse of knowledge in the Lord.
One of the verses listed below state that two friends can help sharpen each other up like “iron sharpens iron.”
Just like one piece of iron can make the other piece of iron extremely sharp by rubbing up against it – two solid Christian friends can also have the same type of positive effect on one another by sharing their own personal walks in the Lord with one other.
By having other good, solid, Christian friends to share your journey with – you will literally accelerate your spiritual growth and development in the Lord because you will have more than one source in which to feed and learn from.
You will be learning about God from all of your own personal adventures and experiences with Him – but you will also be learning more about God from all of your other friend’s personal journey and experiences with Him.
How many of these types of God-friends can you expect God to bring into your life? Only God will be able to answer that for each and every one of you. Some may only get one or two to start off with, others may get 5 or 10. Let God make the decision as to how many and when they will be brought into your life.
What I have learned is that it is not the quantity or amount that comes in – it is the quality.
You are much better off having just one or two good, solid, quality friends as versus 10 or 15 that are not as good quality friends as the one or two may be.
Every Christian is operating at different levels of spiritual development with the Lord. God knows best as to who would be best suited for you at the level of spiritual development that you are currently operating at with Him.
When God does bring in these types of special God-friends to share your journey with – they will be real treasures!
These God-friendships will be anointed by God Himself due to the quality feedings and interaction that will occur in them.
Sadly, what you will find out very early on, is just because someone may be a saved and born again Christian does not mean this person has their act together in the Lord. Some people have become too judgmental and too critical in their walks with the Lord. Some have become too arrogant and pompous, thinking they have all the answers to everything.
They will tend to look down on anyone else who is not operating at the knowledge levels they are operating at. Some have become so flaky in their walks with the Lord, that they have lost touch with reality and you won’t be able to connect with any of them.
God knows best as to who will be best suited for you at your current level of spiritual development with Him – so let Him guide you to the ones that He will want you to connect with. I have seen God do this so many times for others, that I literally consider it a miraculous piece of work – especially as to how He gets you to meet some of these people in the first place.
Some of these chess moves are quite incredible, as most of these people will be total strangers to you until God moves in to match the two of you up.
The other thing that could occur besides God matching you up with total strangers is that He may move on someone else you may know, but that you are not particular good friends with.
That person then gets saved and plugged in, and then they find out that you too are saved and plugged in – and now a good God-friendship can start to build up as you now have something in common with one another to start to build a good solid friendship with.
This could be another member in your family, someone that you may work with, a friend who you may have known from your past, or someone you may see at church from time to time but never really talked with. The possibilities are endless as to where these people may come from.
These God-friends can come from anywhere and at anytime – so keep your radars up, as you never know when God may move to bring one of them into your life.
As Iron Sharpens Iron
This next verse is extremely fascinating as it tells us that two friends can help sharpen each other up as iron sharpens iron.
A true God-friend can help keep you sharp in the Spirit, let you know when you are getting too far off track, help you get through and make sense of some of the downswings that can occur in your walk, confirm and help bear witness when you are on the right track, give you pep talks when needed, and help keep you in the game when you start to get too mad and frustrated when things do not go your way.
You each serve to help keep each other up in the Lord so that you both can continue to stay on the straight and narrow road that God now has you set up on. You can also help each other out if one starts to be tempted to do something they should not be engaging in. Here is the verse:
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
A true God-friend will always be honest and straight forward with you. You cannot help keep each other up and sharp in the Lord unless you are both willing to be totally honest with one another.
Human beings were created to be social creatures, meaning that we are most comfortable when we have family, friends and acquaintances. Friendship is an important element in a fulfilled, contented life, and those who have close friends, whether one or two or a multitude, will usually be happy and well-adjusted. At the same time, those who call themselves our friends may cause us grief and hardship, constantly disappointing us. So what exactly is a friend, and what does the Bible have to say about friends?
On the positive side, friends can console and help us when we are in trouble, as when Barzillai the Gileadite consoled David when he was being hunted by Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27–29) or when Jephthah’s daughter’s friends consoled her before her death (Judges 11:37-38). A friend may also rebuke in love, proving more faithful than a hypocritical flatterer (Proverbs 27:6). One of the greatest biblical examples of friendship is David and Jonathan, son of King Saul. Jonathan’s loyalty to his friend, David, exceeded that to his own father and his own ambitions (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:14-17). So attached was David to his loyal friend that, after Jonathan’s death, David wrote a song to him, a tribute filled with heart-wrenching pathos (2 Samuel 1:19-27). Theirs was a friendship closer than brotherhood. In the New Testament, many of Paul’s letters begin and end with tributes to his friends, those who ministered to him, supported him, prayed for him, and loved him.
Friendship can have its negative aspects as well. Supposed friends can lead us into sin, as when Jonadab persuades Amnon to rape his half-sister, Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1-6). A friend can lead us astray in regard to our faith, as they sometimes did in Israel, leading others to worship false gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). In those days, such an act was punishable by death. Even if our friends do not lead us astray, they can provide false comfort and bad advice, as Job’s friends did, making his suffering worse and displeasing the Lord (Job 2:11-13, 6:14-27, 42:7-9). Friends can also prove false, pretending affection for their own motives and deserting us when our friendship no longer benefits them (Psalm 55:12-14; Proverbs 19:4, 6-7). Friendship can be broken down through gossip (Proverbs 16:28) or grudges (Proverbs 17:9). Friends should be chosen carefully because, as Paul told the Corinthians, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Proverbs 1:10-19 and 4:14-19 contain warnings about friends and how we should choose them. We are not to associate with those who entice us to do wrong, no matter how appealing their “friendship” seems to be. Those whose “feet rush to sin” should be avoided. The path they choose is no place for a Christian whose choice should be to follow the “path of the righteous.” Only that path leads to friendship with God, which is the ultimate goal of a Christian.