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Choosing Your Friends

Friends play a major role in shaping our lives, for good or evil. That's why God's word is insistent in reminding us that "bad company corrupts good character"
(1 Cor. 15:33). How can we choose godly friends?
Let's look at seven important questions to consider when doing so.

1. Do they have a good track record? Many people "talk the talk", but are they also walking it? Lord Jesus said," A tree is recognized by its fruit" (Mt. 12:33).

2. Do they respect your principles? You say that sex should be saved for marriage. Do they keep pushing you to compromise your stand? "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Col. 2:8). A person who does this is no friend.

3. Do they give to as well as receive from you? Good friends do both. Some times God gives you something for them, and other times He give them something for you. "The pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel"
(Prov. 27:9).

4. Do they sharpen your life? Are you improved by being with them? Good friends challenge and encourage you to excellence. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27:17).

5. Do they build you up? Because of their own low self-esteem, some people love to tear others down with their words. But God wants you built up, not beat up by other people's self-interest. "encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11).

6. Do they treat others well? Someone once said that the quickest way to find out what a person is like is to listen to what he says about others. If people are always judging others they will do the same to you as well. "Let us stop passing judgement on one another" (Rom. 14:13).

7. Do they encourage your destiny? Good friends will believe in you more than yuou believe in yourself. They can see something in you that nobody else sees. They don't want to exploit your gifts or manipulate you for their personal advantage, but want to see you reach your full potential. "A friend loveth at all times" (Prov. 17:17).

Here's the bottom line: If you want to grow spiritually and mazimize your God-given gifts, choose your friends wisely. And remember, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly" (Prov. 18:24). And keep in mind that someone considering you as a friend must be able to ask these seven questions about you as well.

Be Encouraged.

**********************Letter #15 (27. 4. 2003)*********************
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