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Got any rowdy friends?

ESPN decided to pull “All My Rowdy Friends,” the theme song written and performed by Williams, because of comments Williams made on October 3 on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” comparing President Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler (read the story here). Do you need to pull the plug on some of your “rowdy friends”? Here are some friend fundamentals to help you decide:

 1. Your future will be shaped by your friends

Choosing wrong friends can be disastrous

The companion of fools will suffer harm (Prov. 13.20b). Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15.33).

Teenage friends usually assist their friends in getting drunk, in getting high off of drugs, in watching pornography, in getting involved in premarital sex, in breaking the law….

Adult friends can give awful and unbiblical counsel on your marriage problems, on how to discipline your children, on how to manage your finances….

The wrong adult friends will not value biblical morality and sexual purity. They will not value the Lord Jesus and His sacrificial death to make atonement for your sin. They will not value consecrated living and faithful church attendance.

Choosing right friends can be delightful

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise (Prov. 13.20a). Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27.6a). As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (Prov. 27.17).

Godly friends can cry on each other’s shoulder, encourage each other, pray with and for each other, exhort one another to live righteously, give biblical guidance, help us see our blind spots, share burdens, etc.

2. Your friends must meet God’s approval

Rest assured, God does want you to have friends. Jesus had them. He specifically referred to Lazarus as His friend (Jn. 11.11). So were Mary, Martha, Peter, James and John, to name a few.

But, as a believer, your friends must meet God’s approval. Two key questions can be asked of your friends based on Psalm 119.63: (1) Do they fear God (Ps. 119:63a)? (2) Do they seek to follow God (Ps. 119:63b)? If they don’t, find yourself some new friends.

3. Your selection of friends will be very limited

If your friends are supposed to be believers that fear the Lord and seek to follow Him (Psalm 119.63), that automatically narrows the pool from which you have to choose.

Your best friends should not be unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14)

Yes, Jesus was accurately called a “friend of sinners” (Lk. 7.34), but He never condoned or participated in their sin. He always sought to deliver people from their sin.

You’ve got to be friendly toward the lost in order to win them to Christ. They should feel free to seek counsel from you, BUT you should not seek counsel from them.

When you’re around your unsaved friends and coworkers, make sure your spiritual light is always shining (Mt. 5.14-16). Make sure you are spiritually salty (Mt. 5.13), that you are trying to influence them for the Lord Jesus.

Your friends should not be believers living in sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15)

The way we relate to professing Christians who live in sin and to unbelievers who live in sin is different. Relationships should be established with unbelievers for the express purpose of trying to win them to Christ. Relationships with believers living in sin and refusing to repent must be adjusted until they repent. You should treat them with holy ostracism. If not, you end up condoning their sin by acting like nothing is wrong.

Your girlfriend/boyfriend must never be an unbeliever!

Don’t date an unsaved person! Why? Because every date is a prospective mate! 1 Cor. 7.39 states that a woman “is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”

That little phrase “only in the Lord” means, “Don’t marry a man who doesn’t know the Lord Jesus as his Savior.” How can you be intimately, psychologically, spiritually, and physically involved with someone who doesn’t know and love Jesus Christ and strive to honor Him as Lord?

4. Your parents’ opinion of your friends should be highly valued

This principle is specifically geared toward those who still live at home. Honoring and obeying parents almost always makes your life more enjoyable and less problematic (Eph. 6.1-3).

If your parents are Christians, you should be very thankful. Those Christian parents may occasionally have uncomfortable vibes about one or more of your friends. They may not have much of an explanation for their negativity except something or someone is giving them a warning that is intended for your good. And that someone may very well be the Holy Spirit who lives within them!

I’ll probably post a separate blog and tell an incredible example of this in my own life.

5. Your BEST friend must be the Lord Jesus

You can be Christ pleaser or crowd pleaser, but you cannot be both at the same time (Gal. 1.10). Seek to please Him with your obedience (Jn. 15.14). That’s certainly not asking too much considering He laid down His life for His friends who were still sinners at the time (Jn. 15.13; Rom. 5.8).

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Wearing a Spiritual Dunce Cap

Someone referred to me as “Elijah” in a recent email and it felt like I’d been hit in the head with a Major League baseball bat! It stung me worse than Muhammad Ali ever did an opponent in the ring. Why? Because it was true…and the truth hurts sometimes.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Let’s just say that while preaching a few weeks ago I felt like I had been greatly disrespected. From my perspective (and isn’t that the only one that really counts?!) I was being totally ignored. And it aggravated me BIG TIME!

Well, it just so happened that I was preaching and teaching from 1 Kings 19 where Elijah is running scared because wicked Queen Jezebel ruined his day by issuing a death threat with a timer set for fulfillment within 24 hours. In response Elijah tucks his tail, runs away in fear, throws a huge pity party, sits under a juniper tree, and begs God to take his life (how ironic since he was running from a threat of death).

Now keep in mind, this running in desperation takes place just hours after God’s phenomenal demonstration of power on Mt. Carmel when He used Elijah to defeat 450 prophets of Baal and proved Himself to be the one and only God by raining down fire to consume the saturated sacrifices.

And what colors were on my sermon palette to paint such a scene and such a character? Wimpy white. Pathetic purple. Ghastly grey. Elijah was disgusting and he deserved to be described as such… Wait a minute! Elijah did receive a death warrant. And no doubt, given an opportunity Jezebel would have killed him. She had already killed other prophets (1 Kings 18.13).

So, here I am teaching and applying these truths while at the exact same time I’m filled with self-pity and self-righteous rage because someone had “offended me.” BUT, I hadn’t made the application to myself until the email… I let one person know how and why I was so aggravated and disgusted. And that person simply wrote,

“Elijah”/Jeff,

You can’t let 1 or 2 folks get under your skin! Try heaping “coals of fire” on their heads.

And here is how I responded to that email:

Wow, talk about needing to wear a spiritual dunce cap! I honestly had not even made the (embarrassing) connection w/ Elijah letting one woman get the best of him and there I was letting a “non-lethal distraction” get to me. Thanks for the gentle, backhanded whop up side my head…and excuse me while I go get my bucket…I’ve got some coals to put in it before Hurricane Irene gets them all wet.

I’ve shared this humiliating episode of my life because it illustrates two Proverbs:  (1) Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27.6), and (2) Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27.17).

Thank you, Lord, for my faithful friend!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Friends, Practical Living and Ethics, Proverbs

 

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