Proverbs 12:26

The righteous person is cautious in his friendship,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

I’ve heard Andy Stanley say that “Your friends determine the direction and quality of your life.” If you’re reading this and you’re not very old, let me tell you – He’s right! Let me give you an example.

Not long after my wife and I got married, we moved up to the city of Longview to take on the Worship Pastor role at a church up there. One of the many blessings we received from that church were some great friendships. We are still blessed by them to this day. One of the couples we became friends with had a daughter. She wasn’t very old when we first met them. And it was a joy to watch her grow up.

Not long after we had been up there, we were out to dinner with Bekki’s parents. The point of this dinner was to reveal to them our five year plan. At the end of the five year plan was when we had started talking about the possibility of having kids.

Well, around this same time, we also flew back to Ohio to visit with my family. It was a great time, where we got to spend some time with my sister and her son.

What I forgot to tell you was, these friends were also really putting a lot of pressure on us to start having kids. We didn’t think we were quite ready. But, after getting to know their daughter and my nephew, we ended up giving and having kids much earlier than we had anticipated. In fact, I don’t think we were even two years into our five year plan.

The point, your friends determine the direction and quality of your life. It was through these influential relationships we had with friends and family that we ended up deciding to have our first kid. Of course, to this day, I would tell you it was the absolute right decision because we have been extraordinarily blessed. However, if we hadn’t had this friendship, and surrounded ourselves with friends who more inline with the five year plan, we probably wouldn’t have had kids so soon. We are blessed that we did.

Be careful who you choose to be your friends. And yes, in many cases I do think we should choose who our friends are. Just because we’re desperate for relationship doesn’t mean we should grab a hold of any hand walking by. If you want to be a certain kind of person, then you’re going to need to surround yourself with people who are like that. For instance, if you want to be a good piano player, but all your friends are guitarists it’s going to be hard to be a good piano player. If you want to be a good football player and all your friends play tennis, you’ll probably end up playing tennis. If you want to be a successful business person, but all your friends are union workers you might never succeed. For instance, I’m trying to pin point some potential friends in our area who are already doing the senior pastor thing well. That way, I can learn to be a good senior pastor.

Otherwise, we will find ourselves led astray by the relationships that we allow to form. I know you’ve seen it. I know you’ve probably had friends or family members who have allowed a friendship to rule their lives and they end up creating distance between their existing friends and family because of the influence of the new friend. Don’t be that person. You determine the kind of life and track you think you should be on (as long as it’s wise) and then find friends who will support that. If they can’t support it, they probably wouldn’t have made a very good friend.