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Choosing Friends

Whom you associate with will have a profound impact on your life and this will either be positive or negative. I think that the Bible is very clear on associating with the right kinds of people that will influence us in a biblical way.

Pro 13:20 (NIV) He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Wise people are those with vision, those who have it together, and those who are going places. We cannot associate with people who lazy, ultra critical (as in they are always finding fault), people who are always defeated,etc.. I tried to make friends with a gal named Sara once and the relationship turned sour. Both me and Sara made our mistakes, but ultimately Sara was the kind of person that would beat me down, not build me, tell me what I cant do, rather than what I can do, and she was the kind of person that would have brought me down, not lifted me up. So the Lord delivered me from the hands of Sara, and I have disassociated from her.

Likewise there are a few people in my life at the time of this writing and it seems like they spend all their time criticizing, judging, and finding fault in me. If they are not criticizing me in person, they are gossiping behind my back, and if they are not doing that, they are doing it in their mind, and if not in their mind, they're probably doing it in their dreams. So its no wonder they blow up at me when I make a mistake, or do something that displeases them. If I were the woman caught in adultery in John 8, these people would be the first to throw stones at me. They would because these are the kinds of people that will tear me down, not lift me up.

We cannot have these kinds of people as our primary influences, because in doing so we will eventually become just like them, as the second half of Pro 13:20 made clear as it says that a companion of fools suffers harm. I am aware that finding quality biblical friends, can take time and may not always be possible. Remember that there will always be far more negative people, than positive. Its not the quantity of your friends that matters, but the quality. Its always better to have one good biblical friend that is wise, and holds to the Lord, than 20 bad friends.

Consider this illustration

Birds travel in-groups, but Eagles travel alone.

Would you rather have an eagle or a bird as a friend?

In psychology there is a term called The Law of the Group which basically means that when we enter a social situation, we often associate with the people we see ourselves like. For example, if we go to college or seminary for the first time, we will select our friends like ourselves.

People with Godly qualities will eventually rub off on you. Sometimes its important to choose a friend that is older than you and have them be your mentor. The best biblical example of this would be Elijah and Elisha. We first learn of Elisha in 1 Kings 19. God tells Elijah in verse 16 that Elisha will succeed him as prophet. Elisha later gives up all he had to be with Elijah. During the time the two had together, Elijah was training Elisha to succeed him as prophet. Elisha may not have been the best mentee for Elijah, but he was dedicated to the cause. We see in 2 Kings 2 that Elijah tried many times to get rid of him, but Elisha was dedicated to Elijah and refused to leave him. After Elijah finally gets taken up to heaven, Elisha takes over as prophet and performs twice as many miracles as Elijah did. So you see this is yet a perfect example for us on how to choose wise, disciplined, biblical friends and mentors to help us grow wise and become more like Christ.

So find biblical friends that will build you up, not tear you down. Find friends that will tell you what you can do not what you can’t do. Remember that bad friends corrupts good character (1 Cor 15:33), and remember Pro 13:20, and choose wise people as friends.

Examine your friendships

1. Do I want to be like this person?

2. Do they have a vision for their life?

3. Are they thus sitting back and settling in on mediocrity?

4. Do they have the biblical qualities of Christ?

5. If I am hanging around bad influences, am I influencing them, or am I being influenced?

 

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