Study Notes

Choosing Our Friends Carefully

by Creflo Dollar | 3 Apr 2017

As human beings created to form relationships with others, we all want to be liked and accepted. We feel better about ourselves when others respect us and seek out our company, but sometimes that can work against us. Some people crave approval from others so much that they’re willing to do anything to get it. When we find ourselves hanging out with the wrong kinds of people, we’re much more likely to make bad decisions that can get us in trouble.

Even the most well-mannered of people can be affected by associating with friends with bad attitudes. Spending time with the right people can help us keep a positive attitude. Spending time with the wrong ones can turn our optimism into pessimism. “Do not be misled: ‘bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).  Others’ mindsets are contagious, for good or bad, and they can color our thinking.

Allowing others to influence our thought processes will eventually affect what we do. We’ve all heard about individuals who seemed to have everything going for them, then made a bad decision and suffered the consequences. Sometimes it’s hard to discern who we should avoid, and the pressure to fit in can make it worse. Without God giving us guidance in this area, we could easily make a mistake. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, NIV).

The Holy Spirit is that friend! He never makes mistakes judging others’ character, and he knows the intent of people’s hearts even when they don’t speak a word. He only wants the best for us, and he’s always ready to steer us away from potential trouble, if we let him. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Proverbs 22:24, 25).

It can be tempting to gravitate toward people that have toxic ways of thinking. When we feel drawn to them, listening to that still, clear voice inside, which some people call their conscience, keeps us on track. The conscience with which we’ve been blessed is one way God speaks to us. When we ask him for direction in forming relationships, he’ll show us the true friends who care for us and have our best interests at heart.

Real friends are gifts from God, and he blesses us with them as one way of showing his love. They’re honest with us and we can be ourselves with them, knowing they’ll accept us even at our worst. When we make a mistake, they point it out to us, but they do it in love. Relationships in which we encourage and build each other up are strong and healthy. “Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, AMPC).

Relying on our own judgment in this area can leave us open to making too many mistakes. Trusting God to lead us to the right people, the ones who truly care for us in good times and bad, puts us in a win-win situation. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT). Friends sent from God keep us on the right path in life. Listening to his voice in this area helps us to choose wisely.

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