Enjoying the Journey
The wisest man who ever lived teaches us that “he that walketh with wise men shall be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). Friends have tremendous influence. For many years I have counseled teenagers to choose their friends carefully, not to let their friends choose them. Standing near the mid way point of life (at least from my perspective) I suddenly have realized that this counsel is not just for youth. It is for me. It is for all of us.
When you choose a friend, you are choosing the influencers of your life.
- Look for men who are wise enough to obey God. True wisdom is the wisdom of obedience. It is more than knowledge, more than talk. True wisdom is seen in the actions of a man. Watch closely and choose carefully.
- Ask God to make you wise enough to love being with wise men. Wise men are not always the most entertaining. Wise men are not usually concerned about temporal things. They live with eyes on another world.
- Give deliberate effort and time to gleaning from wise men. (Hint: Those who claim to be wise are probably not.) Read after men who have more than opinions to opine. Ask questions. In the presence of a wise man, be quiet. Listen.
- Guard casual influences. Companions can be casual acquaintances. Solomon’s word walk is intentional. Again I say: Choose your friends; don’t let your friends choose you. You either are now or you soon will be like those with whom you spend time.
If you don’t want to be critical – get away from critics! If you don’t want to be arrogant – avoid the proud! If you don’t want to live in fear and unbelief – stop listening to faithless people!
If you want to be a happy Christian – find a friend that exudes the joy of Jesus! If you want to be a blessing – spend time with those who live unselfish, gracious lives! If you want to be godly – choose companions who are so much like Christ they make you hungry for more!
Recently Mr. Spurgeon reminded me of the influence of friends through an observation of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:
Let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed toward the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian enquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song – “When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither, And hear how these two pilgrims talk together; Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise, Thus to keep ope their drowsy slumbering eyes. Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well, Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”
The test of a good friend is simple: Do they make me want to be a better Christian?
Is our conversation ever about the goodness of God? If not, I may have the wrong kind of friend…or I may be the wrong kind of friend.
William Borden traveled the U.S. speaking to college students before he left for Cairo, Egypt. His goal was to stir the hearts of others for missionary work. Borden was a man of the sea. He loved boats and nautical things. One of the talks he gave was titled: “Are You Steering or Drifting?” That in itself is quite a challenge! In that message the young preacher asked two questions:
1. Where are you headed?
2. Who is on board with you?
We speak a great deal about life’s decisions and direction. But what about life’s companions? Who is on board with you?
Choose your friendships carefully and then use your friendships to influence others for good. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”