This week I heard someone say this:
Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.
That one statement stopped me in my tracks. Although we hear people talk about the value of friends all the time, this statement just made me stop and think about my friends and the power of friendship. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. What a powerful statement! We all know people who became involved with the wrong crowd. We understand the power that the wrong friends can have on someone.
The influence of friends is a biblical concept. Take a look at Psalm 1:1. The entire book of Psalms starts with a discussion on the impact of the people you choose to be around. Here’s what this verse says:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
There are three words here that serve as cautions to us about who we choose to spend time with. What are the words? Here they are…walk, stand, and sit. That’s what this verse is talking about…the progression of destruction that slowly sneaks up on you by the friends you choose.
You see this verse says if you simply start walking with the ungodly…the skeptics…you will be enticed and find yourself standing with them. When you start associating with folks you should stay away from it doesn’t take long before you are caught up with them…you move from enticement to engagement. You are caught up in their behavior. Before you know it you are now sitting right in the middle of this group of friends. Another word for sitting? That word is embracing. You are now embracing the poor behavior of your friends.
As my friend Pastor Chris Goins used to say the words walk, stand, and sit from Psalm 1:1 really mean entice, engage, embrace. That is what happens when we choose the wrong friends. We are enticed into sin, we engage in sin, and finally we embrace behavior we know doesn’t follow the teaching of scripture. That is the caution Psalm 1:1 is giving us.
A little further in Proverbs…chapter 27 and verse 17 we see another verse about friends. Here is what it says:
As iron sharpens iron,
So a friend sharpens a friend.
This is an entirely different mindset from Psalm 1:1. Here scripture is telling us that we need strong as iron friends. I like to call these friends just that…iron friends. We need to pick close friends that are so Biblically grounded they make us better just by being around them. These friends sharpen us.
So, pick your friends carefully. Which would you rather be? Enticed, engaged, and embraced by sin while surrounded by a group of skeptics and troublemakers or sharpened and molded into the person God wants you to be by friends with a heart for Christ? I’ll take the group of iron friends any day.