by Taffi Dollar
Happy, healthy friendships give us joy, and make life satisfying. God made us to be in relationship with each other, and with Him; this is His will for us. He wants to bless each of our relationships and make them succeed and flourish, and will eagerly do so if we allow Him to. However, as free moral agents, it’s up to us to choose our friends wisely.
God knows how important positive relationships are to our spiritual health; however, so does the enemy. Who we spend time with and associate with greatly influences how we think, and ultimately, what path we go down in life. Surrounding ourselves with the wrong kind of people can be disastrous. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). The Holy Spirit wants to teach us wisdom and discernment, and caution us against unwise choices in this area.
Staying solidly grounded in God’s Word keeps us out of the danger zone. Meditating on it and applying it to our everyday interactions with others opens us up to God’s wisdom, which is much higher than ours. “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold…She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly” (Proverbs 3:13, 14, 17, 18, NLT). Ignoring this Scripture can cause us pain and disappointment; letting it guide us allows God to bring peace and joy into our friendships.
We were never meant to go through life alone, but we’ve all seen the emotional damage that toxic, unhealthy relationships can inflict. God loves and greatly values us; however, if we don’t see ourselves the way He does, we can enter into unhealthy or even dangerous relationships that separate us from God. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, NKJV). This not only applies to marriage relationships, but friendships as well. We can’t avoid coming into contact with unbelievers, but letting them influence our thinking can be a major stumbling block for us.
We’re all better together, but we must remember that a person’s character affects the quality of the relationship. None of us are perfect, and our own insecurities can get in the way if we don’t openly and honestly communicate with each other. The difference between godly friendships and those governed by worldly influences is that successful relationships have God—not another person—at the center. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9, 10, NLT). Loving another person the way Jesus commands us to fulfills His law of love.
It pleases God when believers move through life in unison. Both parties agreeing with Him leads to a successful relationship. “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3, NLT). Following God’s lead, rather than our own individual whims, positions us to receive abundant favor in all our relationships.