A Circle of Friends
Summer is quickly coming to an end and it’s time to sign up and register for Virtue’s fall study, Love Letters, a study of the epistles of St. Paul.
I’ve had some time to reflect this summer on what a treasure my Bible study friends are to me, whether laughing, eating, praying, crying, sharing truths we’ve learned, or working side by side! Apart from my love for my family, no other human relationships have impacted my life more, and brought greater joy, than the friends with whom I walk. And, no surprise, these are the ones that I have made in study over the years.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed.” This verse is both an encouragement and a warning. You show me your friends; I’ll show you your future. Or, as someone put it: Your friends are your future. According to this verse, one strong indicator that could determine how your life turns out is whom you choose to walk with through life. It’s likely that you are the average of your five closest friends. And I’m not talking about your Facebook friends or who you follow on Instagram. Social media can enhance or supplement your friendships but can’t be a substitute for face-to-face time.
There is no way to quantify the influence friends can have in your life. When I was growing up, my mom used to say, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I didn’t always want to hear that. I thought I was unique, that I would stand on my own, thank you very much! But over time, I could see the way I talked, the things I valued, even the way I dressed or the way I laughed was being shaped by my friends. I was truly becoming the average of my five closest friends! I found it is almost impossible to live right if you have the wrong friends. We need to be purposeful to develop and commit ourselves to good friendships—face-to-face, not thumb-to-thumb!
I have treasured this verse over the journey of my life: “Two are better than one . . . for if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?” When life was great, or cold, or exciting, or painful, I needed and I wanted to share it with my closest friends.
Over his lifetime, King David had three friendships and each one changed the course of his life for the better. As a young boy, he had a mentor-friend in Samuel. Samuel saw a unique calling on this young shepherd boy at a time when others, even his own family, dismissed him. Samuel saw in David things that nobody, not even David himself, could see.
Then, as a young man, he became friends with Jonathan. Jonathan was the opposite of a passive friend; he walked in when everyone else was walking out. He would say, “God chose you as king, and if I can help you get to that, I’ll do it!” Several times Jonathan risked his life to help David.
Later in David’s life, when he would get into sin and try to cover it up, God sent a friend in Nathan to tell him the truth. He was a loyal “wounder.” He wasn’t an executioner, but a trusted surgeon. These are the most rare and precious friends indeed! Nathan didn’t want to hurt David; he did want to help him see things he couldn’t see about himself.
We all have blind spots and need someone willing to say things like this: “That is a stupid decision. What you’re doing is not going to work. You’ll hurt yourself, you’ll hurt your testimony, you’ll hurt your relationship with God!”
Do you have friends like these in your life?
Where can you find friends like this?
How can we become friends like this?
One great way is to join a Bible study group, like the Virtue study, and become a part of a small group of likeminded girls.
You were never meant to walk alone through this life. God’s will isn’t for you to be lonely, but for you to cultivate and invest in meaningful, biblical relationships. I am praying that you will!