We all desire companionship. We seek friendships that will last forever–friends who will be with us regardless of what happens. But your friends can mislead you. Oh, no one wants to hear those words, but if we choose our friends unwisely, we may be led to places God never intended for us to go.
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Lessons From An 8-year Old Shoplifter
My husband recounted the story with restrained anger and a hint of fear for our son. An eight-year-old boy was caught stealing. The child had stolen, not because he was hungry, but because he had been influenced by a friend.
The irony? The friend got away while he was caught in the act. A mother had to be called in to pick up her son and hear the tale of dishonesty. She may have wondered where she had gone wrong in her parenting. She may have been shocked. Angered. Ashamed.
Not to mention all the mom-guilt that comes with that situation.
Your friends can mislead you but the book of Proverbs is filled with advice to avoid those who would lead us down the path of destruction.
One of the most vivid depictions is found in Proverbs 1:10-16:
My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.
In fact, a lot of times that was their original intention. The Bible is very clear that we should avoid persons who are not wholeheartedly following Christ. The only example we should be following is Jesus’.
And yes, sometimes that will mean that we are laughed at or teased. We may even be persecuted for our beliefs. But if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith – we can walk boldly the path that is set before us.
How Your Friends Can Mislead You
Not every bad friend will lead you down a path towards destruction and death. There are other, more subtle ways in which those types of friends can mislead you.
They can mislead you by distracting you from God. Our whole purpose on earth is to give–and bring–glory to God. But when we are distracted from following him with our whole hearts we end up cut off from him. Sometimes we may even try to fill our God-slot by spending more time with our friends or trying to please them.
There are people who seek to mislead you by distracting you from your purpose. What is our purpose? God has created each one of us on purpose for a purpose. Are you living up to that purpose? Or are you allowing people to prevent you from doing what God has called you to do?
Friends can mislead you by distracting you from your dreams. What do you dream of doing? And no, it’s not the same as your purpose–at least, it doesn’t have to be. Your purpose is what you were created to do, your dream is how you see yourself making it happen.
Good friends support your dreams, and while they may not understand it, they help push you towards accomplishing that dream. Don’t let fake friends keep you from trying to accomplish your dreams.
What Should We Look For in a Friend?
The Bible tells us “there’s a Friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). It, therefore, means that the persons we choose to associate ourselves with should have the characteristics of Christ.
- They should know Jehovah and be in an intimate, saving relationship with Him.
- They should show love to everyone in all their dealings.
- They should choose to do the will of the Father each and every day.
When we filter the actions of our friends and associates through the lens of God’s word, they should come out shining like diamonds. If they don’t, we should reconsider that relationship.
Father, we thank You for the example of Your Son Jesus. We are so grateful that You took the time to inspire men to write these stories for our admonition. Help us to heed Your words. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What is your favorite proverb that highlights today’s topic?