The Importance of Good Friends
Have you ever heard one of your parents, mentors, or pastors say, “Choose your friends wisely,” or “You become like the people you hang out with.” Maybe as a teenager living in 2020 friendships are fun, confusing, frustrating, or complicated for you. Maybe you ask yourself, “Why are good friends so important?” Well, to put it quite simply, we need friends to walk through this journey called life with. Let me explain.
In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus taught us that we were not meant to do life alone; we were meant to love others, commune with others, and share in the glory of Christ with others. We see Jesus do this during His time on earth with His disciples and others as He shared about the kingdom of God and loved others perfectly. We see Jesus cry with and for His friends (John 11:35). We see Jesus lovingly rebuke His friends who have gone astray or lack understanding (Matthew 16:23). We even see the climax of true friendship when Jesus Himself lays down His life on the cross for us sinners in the purest expression of true friendship and love (Matthew 27:50). Of all these examples from Jesus’ life, one thing is clear: we are not meant to do life alone.
As we know, life is hard. Because of the brokenness of the world, grief, pain, disappointment, and injustice abound. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). One of the avenues or means by which God speaks to us, guides us, and helps us through life in this dark and troubling world is through friends. That is why the voices you choose to listen to are so crucial. Solid friends who know and love Jesus act as a lifeline back to Him—the ultimate source of our hope, joy, and life. Good friends push you toward Jesus, remind you of Jesus, and influence you toward living a life that honors Him. They cry with you, laugh with you, celebrate you, and ultimately help you to persevere in your faith. The opposite is also true. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
What you listen to—the voices you let define you and shape you—will either point to Jesus or point to the world. There is no in between. So, my question to you is: What voices are you allowing into your heart to shape you from the inside out? Are they encouraging? Do they sound like Jesus? Or do they tear down, divide, and discourage you? Do they point you to worldly solutions that ultimately leave you empty, hopeless, and lonely, or do they point you to the best of friends—the Prince of Peace, the Giver of Life—Jesus? It is those voices, those friends, that I challenge you to hold on to.
Go through the book of Proverbs to locate every Scripture that mentions the word “friend” or “friendship.” Highlight that Scripture as you read it out loud. Take a few minutes to think or journal about what kind of friends God wants you to surround yourself with.