Proverbs 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. (NKJV)
A Christian should very carefully consider who they have as close friends. Like all things about this fallen world, it is our natural tendency to surround ourselves with those people who feed our fleshly appetites; be it ego, recognition, admiration, immorality or pleasure.
We are sinful by nature (Jer 17.9). We war in every area of our life against the natural inclination to please ourselves; and rationalize our behavior with a surface-coat of Godliness. We must not forget our superior ability to deceive ourselves and our expert skill at dressing up sinfulness in righteous clothes.
Your friends either feed your appetite for self,
or war side-by-side with you in pursuit of Godliness.
Job’s friends were not Godly and only served to cause more pain to the already suffering Job. Daniels friends were men of God who stood with him against a pagan society even to the point of death. Sometimes we surround ourselves with friends who give us a false sense of holiness or spirituality simply because their level of holiness and discipline is even less than ours. Beware of apathy, complacency and self-righteousness that comes from comparing yourself to anyone other than Christ (1Cor 10.12).
It is our natural tendency to think we can pull others up to a higher spiritual level. It is a fact of humanity, that we will always descend to the lowest common level of those we spend the most time with. That is why our closest and most intimate friend should be the Lord. He is the ultimate standard and the more time we spend with Him, the more He becomes our standard.
John 15:12-15 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (NKJV)
As with all fleshly pleasure, there is very real pleasure in friends who will join us in our pursuit of wealth, status, recognition and the continual never-satisfied hunger for pleasure. We must learn to embrace the SUPERIOR SATISFACTION of Godly friends rather than feed our gluttony for self-satisfaction. Have you ever thought about the idea of:
Super satisfaction typically involves foregoing short term, immediate gratification for a long-term superior satisfaction in something God says we have to wait for. Superior satisfaction means choosing what is best in God’s eyes. Superior satisfaction means understanding what is truly valuable in light of eternity.
- There is pleasure in an abundance of leisure and sleep. There is superior satisfaction in disciplined time spent with God.
- There is (admittedly, though short term and guilt-producing) satisfaction in sexual immorality. But there is a superior satisfaction in moral purity.
- There is satisfaction in the acquisition of material wealth and status. There is superior satisfaction in the eternal investment of sacrifice for God’s kingdom.
- There is satisfaction in having friends that fulfill our craving for pleasure, entertainment, ego, admiration or importance. But there is superior satisfaction in cultivating holy friendships that lead us to the cross, refine our desire for holiness and challenge us to new heights in our devotion to Christ.
Who have your surrounded yourself with? Do they cultivate the world, or God in your life? Who do you spend most of your time with? Does their company inevitably lead to the cross or to the flesh? Who do you call friend? Do they increase your holiness or your worldliness? Do your friends fulfill your “self” needs, or your righteous needs?
Father, help us today to choose friends wisely. May we choose those friends who will help us to be more like your Son. May we be that type of friend to someone else. Amen.
Contemplation: Have you ever thought about why you have the friends you have? Do they lead you closer to God even when it hurts? Or do they feed your worldly pleasures?
Application: Choose to have close friends who challenge you spiritually, confront your sin, and hold you accountable in your walk with God.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?