There is a common saying that says show me your friends and I will know who you are. I know to some it’s not much of a deal who their friends are after all they are just people you talk to and have something in common or some difference with. People make friends based on different reasons and due to different circumstances; Some make friends with just anybody they meet, others will call someone their friend as a result of some similarities both parties possess that naturally draw them closer to each other, some people make friends because some friend they have is a friend to that person so it’s a default setting for them to be friends with them as well.
Well no matter the how, when and where, Friendship is really important, yes it is crucial. Friends can make you or can break you. Friends can help you accomplish your purpose or friends can make one miss their purpose in life. You may be asking how can this happen after all I make my own decisions and choices but somehow whether you admit or not some of the troubles you got yourself in is because you wanted to somehow please your friends and show how royal you are to the friendship, loyalty is good and I advise that friendship should be based on loyalty as well. However, purpose should come before everything else.
First let’s know what friendship is so that we are on the same page. The bible defines a friend as someone who is with you in all seasons of life, I mean not just in the days you have it all together but even in the days that you are all messed up and have nothing since a true friend in seen when you are in need. Proverbs 17 verse 17 talks of the unconditional love of a true friend, that a friend loves at all time and is born for a time of adversity. The dictionary defines a friend as a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, and friendship being a relationship typically one exclusive of family relations but is defined as a relationship of mutual affection between people. It says mutual affection meaning that it is not friendship if it is one- sided, so revisit your friends list is it mutual? or you forcing some people to be your friends all in the name of connection, The problem is most people will give everything to God but when it comes to making and choosing friends, it all about us and what we want remember the word
says he knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb and he had a plan and a purpose for us, so don’t you think he knows better in terms of who should and should not be in our life in as far as your purpose is concerned. God will show you those people that will help you reach your potential and be exactly what he called you to be. So first thing pray that God brings you the right people in your life and in the process work on being the right person as well, as said friendship has to go both sides in as much as you want people that will cheer you on, love you unconditionally and always be there for you, work on being that person as well that will love unconditionally and sacrifice for a friend, the principle is simple do to others what you want them to do to you.
Proverbs 13 verse 20 talks of how bad company corrupts good manners, I love the word corrupt in this verse, the act of corruption does not look necessarily bad but the outcome is a disaster, there some things that people will compromise all in the name of love and friendship. The mentality that “as long as I do not change who I am when am with him or her then am fine”, yes you are fine and you may be fine at that moment but trust me give it a little time and you will agree with me that one side of the friendship will start adopting the behaviours of the other, be it good or bad. That’s how strong friendship is. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying you should shun people and be picky on who you talk to and who you should not talk to because that will not display the Christ that you proclaim to have and serve since he loved all of us the same but then get to know the boundaries in as far as your emotions. Vision and purpose is concerned. Now let me make it clear am not saying hate and despise people that are not on the same spiritual level or faith with you, since I have experienced and of course heard that most believers are choosy when it comes to who they talk to and who they relate with. Jesus for one didnot despise sinners but he loved them all as he came for sinners so that they are saved. So if you only love the saved and righteous then question who you are imitating. But then people that you want to lead to Christ are not by default your friends because in as far as you love them as Christ loved them but you hate the sin that is in them. Love is a must, you have to love all but friendship is all your choice which has to be done with wisdom as well.
Proverbs 13 verse 20 talks about walking with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm, I think there is something wrong if you get comfortable in an environment where people are having conversations that go against your faith, if your friends talk about things that will in one way or the other not benefit you, will demotivate you, drain your spirituality and at the same time do not glorify the father, and you find so much comfort in such an environment then check yourself. When you get too comfortable with people talking against what you know is true then really something is wrong, proverbs clearly tells us about not making friends with a hot-tempered person or should you associate from those that are easily angered as you may learn to be more like them, this simply tells us that the more you hang around someone, the more you become like them.
In order to choose the right friends, listen to advise and accept discipline, so listen to Gods advise of who he defines as a true friend and let him lead you to the right friends, Proverbs 12 verse 26 says the righteous choose their friends carefully, God will let you choose your friends alone he will just bring you the ones that he knows are best for you. If you want to grow into a better person have friends that will challenge you physically, spiritually and emotionally and will help you to be someone better and reach the highest potential in you, how can you identify them? Carefully examine their habits and reactions and spiritual status and this will help you. I know everybody wants to be accepted in the society, sometimes you do not want to look like the only one left out but always remember that its either you are for God or you are not for him, you cannot serve two masters at once. Even Jesus had close friends, he could call on Peter, James and John to go accompany him to pray. We all need such friends those that will push us to do something even in the moments and days that we do not feel like it, those that will wake us up and tell us to watch and pray, those that will tell us that we are going in the wrong direction and help us focus on what’s really important. We all need fighters that will fight with us, for us and not against us. When it comes to making and choosing friends reflect what you desire and then become what you respect, mirror what you always admire and in the long run you will end up attracting what you expect. The truth is you need to be a good person on your own that is when you can happily accommodate others, some people will always blame others when friendship never really works out for them, not everyone is bad out there and you cannot be the only one that is always right or maybe let’s just say your method of choosing friends is not right. Sometimes it is you as the individual that have to work on yourself first, friendship will require effort and if you are selfish and not humble enough you might end up with no friends.
The best way to know that you are in the right friendships is when the friendships improve you and make you a better person. If you are challenged and you are motivated to do big in life, when they rebuke you when you do something wrong. However, when you see yourself losing focus, getting off track maybe it is the time that you have to evaluate who you spend most of your time with. In short if the friendship does not make you better then it is not worth the effort. When I say better I do not mean material wise but am referring to your soul, if you see yourself slacking behind like being less prayerful or you do not enjoy a community of believers anymore then check yourself and those around you as well.
Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the lord and in his law he meditate day and night, the Psalmist tells us who a blessed should look like. He should not walk, stand or sit with because standing, talking and sitting with someone will only show how comfortable you are with them.
Now with the background I have set one may think that they should not be friends with unbelievers only, in actual sense when choosing friends also look deep into those that you tend to pray, worship together with, not all of them are what you assume they are, that is why God recommends us to live in the spirit because this is the only way you can discern. There will be some moments. Seasons in life that the Lord may be taking you to a whole new level and this will not need the same habits and friends that you had, it will require a whole new momentum and new kind of energy. I will give an example of Peter, one of the closest disciples of Jesus in Matthews 16, he calls Jesus in private and rebukes him when Jesus tells his disciples about his suffering and death. Now on a personal view I think Peter was saying this in good faith because he did not want Jesus to suffer but then Jesus knew that even though Peter sounded all concerned he will be the one to betray him. All am saying is do not think that those that seem to be in the same battle and mission with you will not betray you, but stay focused on your purpose because what really matters at the end of this life is not how many things you did or what you accomplished but what really matters is if you followed Gods plans and moved on your calling and purpose. In as far as the people you associate with will help you fulfil purpose, the actual fulfilling will be according to your obedience. God in one way or the other may be telling you to cut those toxic friendships but because you have your own reasons like you have been friends with them for so long, you may be missing on the God purposed you for, the enemy will use what you hold on dear to distract you to fulfilling Gods purpose, so always be alert to hear on Gods instructions and obey them.
People that are always negative and take your vision and purpose for granted will laugh at you instead of encourage you, so instead of watering the seed they may end up killing that seed that God placed in you, so one has to be careful on who to consider in your inner circle. Another example is that of Job, his friends came to comfort him after he was faced with tragic moments and he had all the reasons to actually curse God as his friends suggested to him, but he had to forsake there suggestions and focus on being faithful to his God. Suggestions will always be there especially from those that are close to you, as those suggestions may sound reasonable and true always weigh if your purpose is worth neglecting for such temporary satisfaction.
With all this said, honestly there is no real formula to how to get the right company, the easy way that I know is be the right company by sticking to the right company Jesus and you will attract friends that are more like you, otherwise the truth remains a few people will leave your life and you will leave other peoples life and it is not because they are bad or you are bad but it is because there purpose to be in your life is over, so you don’t have to be bitter towards them or yourself and of course others will stay in your life. Some friends are for a particular season, a season that God wanted to teach you something, it may have hurt or it may be hurting but is for your own growth. Truth still remains we all need somebody we call a friend, somebody we can fight with and we can do life with but all this will be easy if you stick with the truest friend (The Man Jesus), he will always and i mean always connect you to the right people if you ask him to help you choose those friends since he sees the bigger picture and of course at times he will require you to prune those friends that are not bearing fruits, so do not be too comfortable; always be ready for the next season of your life as it may not be as comfortable but it will always be necessary for your growth.