|Graphics by Lori Kennedy|
fool yourselves. Bad friends will
“Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with
hotheads. Bad temper is contagious— don't
get infected.”Proverbs 22:24-25 (MSG)
I remember hearing as I was growing up that my friends would influence me and that I would become like them, so I had better choose my friends wisely. I don’t think I ever believed this for myself. Now as a mother, I have seen the impact that my children’s friends have on their thought processes, their decision making, and literally their whole world view. Although I wholeheartedly believe that my children’s friends are part of their life compass, as an adult and mother, I hadn’t really thought of how this concept might apply to me as well.
I began to think back a few years in my life when I was working in the business world. I was around the influence of many non-believers and half hearted believers daily. I found it much more difficult to keep my relationship with the Lord on track. My priorities were things like people pleasing, perfectionism and overachieving in an attempt to keep my boss happy and to keep up with my co-workers. I found that many of those with whom I spent a lot of time with were emptying me out instead of filling me up. I would leave encounters feeling overwhelmed, under equipped, and very spent.
When I compare those daily interactions to those with my friends today, I find that my cup overflows as my friends encourage me and fill me up. My relationship with the Lord is growing. I know this has to do, at least on some level, with the love and support of my friends. When I think of my friends, I think of a strong foundation, wise counsel, and love through all things. 1700’s English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that friends are like sheltering trees.
How are your friends shaping you? How are you choosing your friends? Do your friends hold you accountable? Friends can either raise you up or bring you down; they can wear you out or fill you up. It’s important for you to have friends that will hold you accountable to God’s Word and plan for your life. Yes, YOUR friends, not just your children’s friends affect your thought processes, your decision making, and your whole world view.
Here are some things God says about your friends in His Holy Word.
· Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other. Proverbs 27:17 (CEV)
· There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)
· A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)
My friends are instrumental in helping me overcome the shroud of shame that sometimes covers me. They raise me up out of any pit I find myself entrenched in. They pray with me; they share scripture with me; they laugh with me and cry with me too. I challenge you today to do a mental check of your friends and make a specific effort to stick closest to the ones that want God’s plan for your life. I also encourage you to intentionally be a sheltering tree for your friends; sowing seeds of hope and a message that God has a purpose for them into their lives.