Summary: Who is choose as friends makes a big difference!
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” - Proverbs 12:26 (NIV)
As a Christ follower, who my friends are is very important if I’m going to live according to the wisdom God provides. For as Paul said:
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” - 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” - Thomas Aquinas
“Today friendship has fallen on hard times. Few have good friends, much less deep friendships. Individualism, autonomy, privatization, and isolation are culturally cachet, but deep, devoted, vulnerable friendship is not. This is a great tragedy for self, family, and the Church, because it is in relationships that we develop into what
God wants us to be… Friendships…are there to be made if we value them as we ought – and if we practice some simple disciplines of friendship.” - Kent Hughes
In Proverbs, God tells us how we can develop friendships and avoid pitfalls that can destroy good friendships.
1. The Value of Friendships.
A. Friendships can be a source of comfort. In good times and bad.
“A friend loves at all times . . .” - Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
Two boys were best friends. When they grew up, one was a banker and the other a barber. They met each week for coffee. One day, after having coffee, one was parked in front of the store while the other was at the back. When one of them came from the back, the other was turning from the front, and they collided. After making sure each other was OK, the banker asked the barber if this was going hurt their friendship. The barber answered, “no,” reached into his glove box and pulled out a flask of whiskey. He handed it to the banker and said, “Here. Let’s drink to our friendship.” The banker said, “Here’s to our friendship,” and took a swig. As the barber put the whiskey back in his glove box, the banker asked if he wasn’t going to also drink to their friendship and the barber said, “Yes, but I’ll going to wait until after the police leave.”
B. Friendships can be a source of counsel.
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” - Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)
A true friend has you on their heart. Therefore, you can count on the fact that when they advise you, they do so with your best interest in mind. Their advice is reliable, even when it may hurt.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].” - Proverbs 27:6 (Amplified)
Every Christian should be a truth seeker. So every Christian needs someone in their life who is a truth teller. Do you have friends who are not afraid to tell you the truth? A good truth teller will . . .
1) Help you identify and develop your strengths.
2) Help you identify and deal with your weaknesses.
3) Tell you what you need to hear as well as what you want to hear.
4) Base their advice on the Bible as much as possible.
5) Point out when you’ve made a mistake.
6) Point out how to correct your mistake.
7) Enable you to grow and improve as a follower of Christ.
“Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called ‘Today’ [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication].” - Hebrews 3:12-13 (Amplified)
Do you have real people in your life who will tell you the truth, who will warn you and encourage you? If so, who are they? When they speak truth to you do you receive it and profit from it or do you resist it and refuse to listen? Do you share honestly so if you are falling away from truth your friend would know before your outward life crashes? If you said “no” to these questions, who are you going to do to invite into your life to encourage you to stay on track for God?
2. The Choice of Friendships.
A. The kind of friends you don’t want.
1. People who gossip.
“You cannot trust someone who would talk about things told in private. So don’t be friends with someone who talks too much.” - Proverbs 20:19 (Easy to Read)