Influential friends in new places

friends1Meeting new friends feels great! However, there are times when a new acquaintance is not meant to become a new friend. Sometimes, you may meet someone who is a negative influence and who pulls you away from your relationship with God. It’s important to befriend people who will strengthen our walk with God. This doesn’t mean that we should avoid these negative influences. We can reflect God’s love to them. And even if our friends are not negative in our walk with God, there are times in life when they may be struggling–and we can be there to help encourage them!

Different types of influences:

Ungodly influences can impact your life in the worst way. Some people think it’s really cool to party and be sexually active outside of marriage. Let me ask you a question: When putting yourself in that environment, do you think it’ll get you through life in a godly way? Many people begin drinking, and acting in other ungodly behaviors, when they allow others to influence their decisions. Third John 1:11 directly says, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”

Godly influences can also have a huge impact on your life. Importantly, they can cheer you on when you are strong in your walk and encourage you when you are struggling. In 3 John 1:5-6: “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.” Godly friends will encourage you to fellowship with other Christians. They will try to help you by reminding you of the godly path when you are wandering. Having good friends can also make you a good friend as well. If a friend is sinning, we need to pray for him or her and ask for God’s wisdom and guidance about confronting him or her about that sin. Keep in mind: it is not our duty to convict people of their sins–that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. We should also not confront others in front of other people. This should be done in private.

Techniques to find a good friend:

friends2When you want to find a good friend, first you need to be a good friend. When moving to a new place, or starting a new school, it’s important to meet new people who share a common interest. Remember, the most important commonality should be your relationship with God (2 Corinthians 6:14). There are many ways you can meet new people, even if you are shy. Find a common interest, strike up a casual conversation, invite them to join you in something you both have to do anyway, like studying for a test or running an errand.

Who you choose as a friend can greatly impact your life. Our friends have a great influence on us; therefore, we should choose our friends wisely. Although most of us will be friendly with many people, there is often just a handful of people who will be among our closest and dearest friends. Let’s make sure these friends are helping us to grow in Christlikeness.

With Christian love,
Michelle Jane Weinrich

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