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Who are your friends? Are they godly, supportive and inspiring? In what ways do they value you, strengthen you, and improve your life? Are you friends among those who fear God and display godly character? I asked these questions because there are unavoidable spiritual endangerment to associating with those who are completely out of sync with God.

Reference: 1 Corinthians 15:33 New King James Version (NKJV) 'Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."'

Looking at this Scripture, what comes to mind first is the meaning of the first phrase, 'Do not be deceived'. In other words, being deceived has a lot to do with the company you've chosen to keep. If you do not want to be deceived, you need the right company or friends. Once you have the wrong ones, you're already living in deception because their association already misrepresents you. You are not just living in falsehood, you've accepted what is misleading or inappropriate as true. Simply put, you're living a lie.

To explain further the negative gravity of evil company, think of it this way: Let's assume that a good person entered a vehicle full of hoodlums or hooligans without knowing it, and the driver of the vehicle is the head of the hoodlums. What has happened? First, the good guy will be introduced to the wrong company. Second, as long as he is present in the vehicle, he'll be overwhelmed by the wrong conversation and the wrong habits. This is because, spending time with people who continually display a negative lifestyle - including crimes and violence - has a way of wearing down even the most godly fellow in Christ. Third, the good guy has no control of the direction of the vehicle because he's now a slave of their direction and destination. Considering the severity of the negative effect, we must therefore choose our friends wisely (see Proverbs 12:26).

Solomon wrote: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed (see Proverbs 13:20). So we actually become wise by walking with the wise. Although people say that great friendships aren't always easy to come by, this is because friendships go through series of tests. A friendship can experience the seasons of trial, arguments, differences in views and opinions, and also busy schedules. Along the way, new friends are made, and old friendships sometimes fade. Notably, every company can either influence us for good or for bad. So the right friendships may require a lot of discernment, good judgement and perception to detect. But before you can detect them, you must at least have godly values. You can only detect the appropriate ones for you, according to your values, standard and mindset. Once you embrace the right ones, you'll appreciate that good friendships are very rewarding, especially when they are at their best, because real friends support us and challenge us to become God's dream for us. They see us for who God intended us to be, and they help us grow in the grace and love of Christ.

Recently I shared one of the best examples of a friendship that lasted through deep difficulties (1 Samuel 19-20). It was a friendship filled with love and it was between David and Jonathan. That's the reason it lasted and produced results for David beyond even the most rosy forecasts. Now someone may ask, 'How do I locate the right friends?' My answer is this: if you are in Christ, aim to befriend God's own people who fear God passionately because they are the best people to share godly values with. They can also help to build you up in Christ until you fully develop the character of Christ in your life. Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) reads, 'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.' In other words, our relationships with other Christians are one way to be encouraged to live out the faith we proclaim and also attain spiritual maturity. This means that our growth in faith is greatly influenced by having Christian examples around us from time to time.

Scripture Reading - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; Proverbs 14:5; Job 6:14; Proverbs 17:17; Job 16:20-21; Proverbs 27:17.

Guided Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for giving me a vibrant company of godly friends to associate with and for planting me in the midst of their positive influence. I therefore, honour you today for the personalities you have blessed me with, especially the ones that fear you, who have come alongside me to love, encourage, support, and uplift me all through the stages of my life. I'm so grateful that I do not have to navigate through life alone, rather you've shown me examples of your love through my dear friends. I pray that your Spirit would continue to be present in all my friendships to guide me aright and to restore any rewarding friendships that have fallen apart, in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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