Friendships are the bread of life. No one wants to be alone and friendships offer a unique (and sometimes even lifelong) companionship that can fill emotional voids left by dysfunctional families and intimate relationships. With friendships we can create a sort of family that was choose, that is not our own blood but can be as close as we let them be. This automatically brings into question the amount of influence these individuals will have on our lives and as such, how was can choose our friendships in a way that can be pleasing to God.
Of friendships, the Bible says, "There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24 NLT) Friendships have always been something I have struggled with. Growing up shy and introverted, it was always hard to make friends from the get-go. On top of this, my family struggled with money and tended to move from house to house often in my younger years; something that gave other children fuel to tease me and often make them less susceptible to wanting to be my friend.As I grew, so did my insecurity in how valuable I, myself was as a friend and this led me to gaining friends that eventually lied to me, hurt me, and encouraged me to sin. (**Note: Sin is definitely something we do on our own. No one can cause us to sin without our participation. Others can, however encourage us to sin; and when we ultimately choose to, we are to blame,but it is okay to acknowledge that other's actions did play a part in our decisions.**) I was in desperate of some good, godly friends and this led me to search the Bible to find what God said about those we surround ourselves with.
"Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” - 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
This was definitely the case with me. I was so lucky that God pulled me back on track before I made some really life-altering decisions due to the encouragement of the company I kept; but, my morals did waiver in the years I spent in ungodly (and very unhealthy) friendships. When choosing the right type of friends, always watch to see where their morals lie. IF you find that you will have to bend or break from the morals you know God spells out before us, this is probably a sign that this friendship is not a Godly one.
"Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul." - Proverbs 22:24-25 (NLT)
Have you heard of the term "you are what you eat"? It's a pretty colorful analogy that allows our minds to wander and envision ourselves as a giant turkey or chocolate cake; but, when it comes down to it, the truth really is in the... pudding? What we take in, makes all the difference to what we put out. If we associate with angry, unloving people, we will also more prone to being angry and unloving ourselves. This also goes for negativity, bad language, lying, and doubtfulness as well. When choosing Godly friends, always look for the kindness, positivity, and forgiveness that Jesus exemplified!
"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." - John 15:13 (NLT)
This is pretty simple: if your friends don't have your back, they aren't good friends. We never want to get in trouble for someone else or to do something wrong just so someone else doesn't get in trouble. However, if our friends need help and we can help them in a way that honors God, we should always do so. If our friends cannot do that, then friendship is not a two-way street and you should find friends that love someone that will!
"Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend." - Proverbs 22:11 (NLT)
Finally, when choosing godly friends, we need to look at ourselves. Are we exemplifying the ways in which God wants us to treat others? Our we doing our best to be a Godly friend? How can we improve? We cannot expect to find and maintain Godly friendships if we, ourselves, don't try our best to be the kind of friends God asks us to be! Search your heart and your actions and ask God to show you ways you can improve on your own character as well. This will make all the difference because, only then, will you be able to separate the true Godly friendships from the one's God asks us to turn away from. There are so many good and godly people that God will put in your path if you allow Him to and trust Him. With God, you will never be without!
Want to join us for our October Reading Plan Challenge? This month, I invite you to join me in a month-long study of the promises of God! Each day, there are short passages to read and meditate on and I will be discussing them live on Instagram each day of the month to help you broaden your understanding of the passages as well as take questions and thoughts from others. Don't forget to follow along on Instagram and join in! Below you will find this month's reading plan to get you started and I hope to see you over on Instagram Live as we make time for God TOGETHER!