We all have friends! Friends often can keep us on a straight path, encourage us, help us in a time of need, or even just be there for emotional support. That is why it is extremely important who your friends are. We all belong to friend circles, some circles are bigger and some are smaller, some even have multipole circles! One for work friends, one for school friends, and even one for church friends. However, I dare to ask who is in those circles?
There are plenty of examples that are laid out for us as to what friends and friendships are supposed to look and feel like. In Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. Or in Psalms 133:1 How good and pleasant is when God’s people live together in unity. How about his one Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Or even my favorite verse Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor; 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.
With that being said it is important to surround yourself, your innermost circle, with like-minded believers. Not only for spiritual benefit but for good behavior. Here are a few reasons why;
They Encourage You To Do The Right Thing
A true friend needs to be your support to do the right thing, it isn’t enough for them to agree with you but for them to give you advice even when it is the uncomfortable truth. A true friend will be there with you through the whole process of doing the right thing and not abandoning you. Doing the right thing is hard and sometimes we don’t even know what the right thing is that is why is it so important to have like-minded friends to encourage you and to help pray for you which leads me to our next reason
Praying With You
A true friend will know how to pray with you and for you, they know that there is a spiritual battle and you need like-minded friends who know how to fight that battle. Matthew says it perfectly in 18:20 where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. See when we gather and lift each other up we are heard.
They Tell You The Uncomfortable Truth
A true friend knows when to call you out in a loving way, they know how to confront you about something they see that isn’t right. Sometimes being called out on our stuff hurts and we often don’t want to hear it but they know that it is something we need to hear and needs to be addressed. Not only that but they will be there to help you back on a good path. Having a friend that doesn’t just agree with everything you do and avoids telling you the truth is harmful to not only you but those around you. Friends don’t allow friends to act in such a way that could harm them physically and spiritually.
They Encourage You To Keep Faith and Seek Jesus
A like-minded friend will never try and lead you astray from God. They will always push you to be who you are meant to be in him, to the purpose you are called into. They will sit down and encourage your faith walk, they will read with you and talk with you about it. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. They will not lead you or give you advice that stews in the desire of the flesh.
They Know How To Forgive
True authentic followers of Jesus know how to forgive, the know-how to extend the grace that is shown to us. While forgiving isn’t easy and takes a lot of work it is still needed. Forgiving doesn’t excuse the actions made but releases the resentment and hurt that was given. Often times when it is a big thing that causes hurt in a friendship it can take a long time to rebuild what you had before but in the end, it can be worth it. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
This is why your first and most trusted friends need to be like-minded believers of Jesus, as the same as you are to be to them. We are all to encourage each other and lift each other up in Jesus. We are to give thanks to each other and help guide each other when we are in a bad season. This isn’t to say that you can’t be friends with unbelievers, because that isn’t true. Jesus sat with sinners and befriended them however bad company corrupts good character, as said in 1 Corinthians 15:33. So when we include friends who don’t know Jesus, several things can happen, we allow our innermost circle to be filled with people who may not always have your best interest or who do but don’t know how to support and encourage spiritually, this can damper you. That doesn’t mean that everyone outside of Christ is bad but it just means we need to be careful who we allow to influence us. After all, Jesus had twelve disciples but only trust three of them fully to be in his inner circle, that wasn’t to say he didn’t trust the others but he knew he was going to need the three for more important things to come. Besides when we are friends with those who are not believers we are allowed to show Jesus’ light and share the gospel with them, this allows us to show the love, patience, grace, and kindness that we know.