Several years ago I was given some advice that I would like to pass on to you. “Take a picture of you and your friends and you will have a snapshot of your future”. It sounds simple but it really is simply profound. The people we associate with greatly impact our character, our habits, our success and our happiness. The leader of your friend group will usually set the standard of acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. I realized if my friends were leading and influencing me then they truly were a part of the “future me”!
In Psalm 1:1-6 AMP, I found the progression of friendship and the development of my character to be intrinsically related. The analogy is found in these few verses.
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. Not so the wicked [those disobedient and living without God are not so]. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away. Therefore, the wicked [those disobedient and living without God] shall not stand [justified] in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God]. For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to naught).”
Friendship develops when we walk, stand and then sit in the presence of others. Each action represents a deeper level of influence and commitment. When you walk with someone it is usually brief and focuses on surface conversation or small talk.
When you stand with someone, conservation turns into more of an advice situation. You may remember the conversations between Tim, the tool- man Taylor and Wilson as they stood together at the back fence in the TV series, Tool Time. Tim would always stand, ear turned to the peering eyes of his neighbor Wilson and seek advice for his relationship with his wife, his children and in the workplace. The only part of Wilson that was ever seen was his eyes and the top of his head. Tim could not see the full man. So it is with friends that we do not really know. Yet if we stand with them, they will influence us.
Those that we sit with, or hang-out with have even greater influence. It’s this level of friendship that can make you or break you! The scripture clearly states that you will be blessed when you don’t do these three stages in the presence of people who have ungodly character or contrary life goals. We can also allow this scenario to work positively when we choose friends that have the goals, character and godly relationship that we want.
Friends do make a difference in our life at any age and any stage! This admonition is not just for teens. It’s for all of us because all of us have future days to live and enjoy. Join me in choosing godly friends and a healthy, happy future.