Who are your friends? What are the people you spend time with like? Are they trusted fellow Christians you can reach out to in times of need–a firm network of emotional and spiritual support? Or are your friends and acquaintances the kind of people, who, for whatever reason, are incapable of providing genuinely helpful advice in times of crisis?
“Two are better than one…If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)
It’s interesting how people choose their friends–those whom they confide in and associate with. Sometimes there is a specific plan–we may seek someone out for whatever reason–but more often than not it seems we just fall together by association or circumstance, such as working in the same office, living next door or being related.
And while it isn’t necessarily wrong to have friends from various walks of life–our Lord causes all kinds of people to cross our path–as those concerned with making prudent, God-honoring decisions, if we do not already have people like this in our lives, we may need to be intentional in seeking out a support network of at least one or two truly trusted friends who are qualified to offer Biblical counsel.
It isn’t that I don’t have friends. Granted, I’m married and a mother, so my closest “friends” are the people in my immediate family. Of course, I also have various friends and acquaintances outside of my family: from work, previous churches, school–yet in some cases, it seems life has taken us in different directions. My most frequent confidant is probably my cousin’s wife; we have children about the same age and are both concerned about their academic development, so we always have a lot to discuss. There are also the wives of my husband’s friends, neighbors, and extended family members.
But critically examining my friendships, I recently realized that none of the people I regularly interact with (whom I felt close enough to ask) could help me; none could offer Biblically grounded advice for a decision I needed to make. Many of them would certainly have taken the time to speak with me and offered their personal opinion as to what I should do, had I approached them. What I needed, however, was trustworthy Biblical counsel, something a person who isn’t reading the Bible, praying, and loving our Lord with all their heart–no matter how otherwise well-intentioned–is capable of providing!
Of course, my situation is perhaps different than that of some; because my husband–most women’s obvious choice for advice–is not a believer, even though he can help in other areas, his advice on matters with potential spiritual impact will not reflect a desire to first and foremost pursue God’s purposes.
In the end I remembered a sister-in-Christ who who gave me Biblical counsel–for which I am very grateful–but the entire experience reminded me the importance of having a solid support network to whom you can turn for Biblical advice when the need arises.
So, who are your friends? Whom do you spend time with? Are they nice people whose company you enjoy? Are they relatives, business associates, neighbors? These are not necessarily relationships that need to be abandoned, but if you love Jesus–if you really care about making the right decisions and pleasing Him when there is significant spiritual impact to be had–you need to have friends who love and know Him too!
(The answer to the obvious follow-up question of how to find wise Christian friends is to become more involved–not just at worship, but also Bible studies and other fellowship opportunities–in a local Bible-preaching church.)
Help me have friends who can counsel me according to Your will; help me be such a friend to others, too! Amen.