Saturday, February 24, 2007

Discerning Spiritual Relationships

(This devotional study is from the internet ministry of Pastor Paul Chappell of Lancaster Baptist Church in California, and president of West Coast Baptist College. If interested, you can find more information or sign up for the daily emails by visiting www.dailyintheword.org )

Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Some parents will make a point of knowing who their children’s friends are. A friend can have a great affect on a child’s life. Yet, most of us have friends that influence our lives as well. Just as with young people, our friends can have a major impact on our lives. Whether a neighbor, coworker, or childhood companion, there is someone that each of us calls our friend, and that person could be influencing us in ways we never realized.

Christ wants us to have friends who are godly influences in our lives. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” Christ knows that who we befriend will determine our actions and behaviors.

When making friendships, we must be sure to avoid the scorners. Proverbs 22:10 says, “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” A scorner is someone who does not encourage peace but promotes strife and fighting between people. This is not someone who would promote a godly attitude in us. We must be careful to decipher whether a person is a scorner or not when choosing our friends.

We also must avoid those who are pretenders. Second Timothy 3:5 says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Some people only have a form of godliness and lack a true relationship with God. These people would not encourage a personal relationship with Christ but would only pretend to be spiritually-minded.

We should not make someone our close friend simply because they believe in God. James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Many people believe in God but do not wish to live for Him. We must make sure those we choose to be our friends will encourage us to live for Christ.

We must also be wary of those who have a close relationship with this world. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” There are people who are so caught up with the cares of this world that they are not seeking to become more like Christ. God says that He wants us to be set apart from this world! We should not have such an avid interest in this world that it prevents us from living for Christ.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Friends are influential in our lives, yet sometimes we can make someone our close friend without stopping to make sure they are the right kind of friend. Take time now to evaluate your friendships. Are your friends drawing you closer to Christ or are they pulling you away from Him? Christ wants us to have friends that will encourage us to live for Him and to become more like Him each day.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sis. Julie said...

This is something that we all need to be reminded of. It is sometimes hard to put away friends that we've had for many, many years. But if they are influencing our lives for the negative then we have to put them away. I know some people who have a real problem with this very thing. Thank you for this post and I pray it will help someone to realize what those kind of friends can and will do to their lives. Good post!!

9:01 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

To be honest, I do not have many friends and this is exaclty why. I do not want someone around me who is going to have a negative influence in my life. Some have called my husband and I both very picky because we dont want just anyone around us, I call us careful! Great post!

2:12 PM  

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