“If your friends don’t work out, you gotta get them to work out…you’ve got to be the good influence. If you can’t influence them to be healthy, get new friends.”
Those words were spoken by a fitness instructor on an exercise video. But when I heard them, I applied them to my Christian walk.
If I want to stay spiritually healthy, I have to make sure I’m connected with friends who are on the path of spiritual health and freedom. And if I discover I’m not influencing a friend toward a deeper faith but instead that friend is drawing me away from godliness, I have to do what that instructor said. I need to find new friends.
I’ve have been blessed with faithful and faith-filled friends who have challenged me to live a life to please the Lord. But I haven’t always sought such friends.
Instead I tended to seek friends who supported rather than exhorted me in my wanderings away from the Lord.
If I wanted to stay angry, I’d choose to spend time with a friend who I knew held on to bitterness. If I craved to overeat, I’d pick a friend to join me for lunch who didn’t consider anything wrong with gluttony. If I itched to share some juicy gossip, I’d hang out with people who talked about people instead of praying for them.
Hebrews 3: 13 urges me to be a friend and be with friends who live and speak truth.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (NIV)
I thank God for friends He’s put in my life who encourage me to live out my faith instead of succumbing to fear and unbelief.
These days I cherish friends who tell me when I’m messing up like those who say, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” I celebrate those friends who challenge me to let go of lesser things and embrace God’s high calling for my life
I want to be that kind of friend. Yes, it can hurt when a friend speaks a truth I don’t want to hear. It takes courage on my part to proclaim a truth that may wound a friend. But these truths hurt in a good way. And without them, we can’t grow.
Where would we be without faith-filled friends?
Elaine, I read your post on the Florida Christian Writers blog this morning, then the link to your cbn.com article, and finally your blog…you have been such an encouragement to me in so many ways…I attended the Saturday session last year at the Florida Christian Writers Conference and plan to attend on Saturday this year…I am also a member of our local Lakeland Christian Writers Group…thank you for sharing your life, and your words of wisdom…they are a blessing from the Lord, my Abba Daddy 🙂
Great writing and great message, Elaine! Keep on writing and sharing.
Friends can have a huge influence on how we choose to live. I love your writing. Jeff