“Friends sharpen the minds of each other.” Pr 27:17 CEV
Author Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years…except for the people with whom you associate and the books you read.” When it comes to choosing friends, Dr. Charles Townsend says look for: (1) People who influence you to be the person God intended. “As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other” (Pr 27:17 CEV). Relationships are the tools God uses to do this. When you’re with somebody, ask yourself, “Do I like who I am when I’m around this person? Am I more open, loving and honest? Or do I not like what I see in myself?” Choose people who make you a better person. (2) People who provide grace for the energy drain. When you’re empty you need to be refueled physically, spiritually, and relationally. So surround yourself with friends who will listen, encourage, and be there for you. (3) People who let you be real. “A friend loveth at all times” (Pr 17:17). The best relationships are those where you know you’re loved, you’re free to be yourself, and you can take off the cheerleading uniform and be real about the difficult aspects of life. There’s comfort and normalcy in friendships where you can be authentic. (4) People who help you grow in faith. You need friends who encourage you to pray, read the Bible, and help you to see the “big picture” concerning what’s important in your life. Ephesians 4:16 talks about operating as a body: “All the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to help the whole body grow and be strong with love” (NCV). Don’t try to do it alone. Reach out to friends who’ll reach back.
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