Who do we choose as our closest friends? Do we choose those who lift us up, challenge us to be our best, and admonish us when we sin? Or do we take the easy route – find casual companions with whom we can be our “worst”? Do we choose to spend our time with those who by their participation encourage us in gossip, complaining, coveting or any other sin? Well?
There is a difference between friends and acquaintances. By friend, I do not mean Facebook Friend. While those lists may contain your close friends, I do not believe that anyone has over 400 people that they can share their hearts with. Most of us are lucky to have two or three our entire lives.
A true friend should be the ones who are willing to gently admonish you when they see you falling into a sinful pattern. But – they should not leave it there. It is no service to a sister to point out the specks (or logs) in her eye and then leave her to her sin. A true friend then encourages, uplifts, and covers you in prayer.
If I am in a friend relationship with someone who encourages me in sin, then I need to examine that. If this is someone that I consider a close friend, then I have made a poor choice in friendship. If it is a casual relationship, then I need to be on-guard and aware. I need to make an effort to lead all conversations to areas that are encouraging and Christ-honoring.
I would also recommend having a woman in your life that you can be held accountable by – someone that you respect enough to go to and to LISTEN to. If you are in a situation where you do not have such a person, you may want to examine that.
Are you in a church/faith family where you have no one that you would be willing to be held accountable to? Why?
Is there no one among your acquaintances that you respect enough to be held accountable by? Why not? Who are you surrounding yourself with?
And I hate to say it, but…….if you cannot find anyone that you respect enough to hold yourself accountable to them, are you perhaps esteeming your own self too highly? Surely there is someone out there who knows more than you and can teach you.
While my mother has been my guide, especially when I was a child, I have gone through several stages of accountability in my adult life. I have had several Godly women who took me under their wing when I was saved in 1993. They taught me how to live, how to love and respect others, how to follow God’s leading. Later, when I found how lacking I was in Bible knowledge, God led me to a lady who became a dear friend and who also taught me how to read the Bible, starting with baby steps. I had another dear lady who taught me about Biblical scholarship, the need to study and learn, to know my Bible and doctrine, preparing myself not to be puffed up with knowledge but to be able to teach when called.
Later, there have been others. There are women who have gone before me in child-rearing and homeschooling, whose example I have followed, and whose phone lines I have burnt up in distress. I have seen those women with God-honoring marriages, who speak respectfully of their husbands, never with put-downs or coarse jokes. These I have watched and try to emulate. And now there are those, as I approach (okay, as I have entered!) mid-life, who are gently leading me to my own role as the older woman, that I may be an encouragement to others. It is so humbling to see my sins become apparent, but so gracious of God to provide those who will hold me accountable in that, who are willing to say things that I may not like. Who are willing to give of their time (a precious commodity) and serve their Lord by instructing me and others.
So, what is a friend? Who do you call friend? And more importantly – who out there can call YOU friend?
|That's right - a true friend challenges you on all sorts of levels!|
Love you, Betty!