God for Sinners Devotional Series: What About Your Friends?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. —Psalm 1:1-6
Would you invite God to a gathering between you and your “crew”…no seriously…ask yourself this question. We don’t realize how much influence others can have on us – especially our friends! Even those who say they aren’t easily influenced have in some way, form, or fashion been influenced by others. Even if it is as simple as waking up and combing your hair before you head out for the day – you’ve been influenced by society to present yourself a certain way. Our friends can be blessings or hindrances to us based on their walks because what they do, we are also susceptible to do it. 
Peer pressure isn’t just for teens and kiddos anymore – we face peer pressure throughout our lives and it’s often the same as what we experience as children. If you hang with addicts you risk becoming an addict, if you hang with people who engage in fornication you risk engaging in fornication yourself, if you hang out with people who lie, gossip, steal, murder, or worse – those who do not care for God, you too risk becoming just like them. We take on the ways of those around us little by little whether we know it or not. We become insensitive to the things we know are wrong the more we are around them… and we begin to believe they just might be ok if we see so and so doing it and “nothing has happened to her” or “she’s a good person”. But do not be deceived, God is not mocked, those who dwell in the house of the wicked will perish with the wicked. You cannot love God and indulge in the flesh at the same time – no matter how “good” you may be and neither can those around you. 
Sometimes we hold on to people because we feel we have to, we’ve known them so long, we’ve been through so much but they aren’t on the same path and aren’t serving God as you do and don’t understand or care to – in fact, much of what they do makes you uncomfortable and you feel like you don’t fit in or have anything in common. You keep holding on to the friendship but the more you do, the harder it seems it is to maintain that relationship. This could be God pulling you away or it could be a period of time where God is separating you from this person until they do come to Him with a whole heart. This doesn’t mean you need to block them out of your lives, God may have a seed for you to plant but it does mean you may need to set boundaries and restrictions for yourself in regards to the relationship and explain to your friend(s) about the change and why you are doing it. 
Spend some time today asking God about each person you call a friend, asking if He approves of the friendship and how He wants you to proceed with the relationship form this point forward – then get up and be obedient. Everyone who loves you may not be good for you and God requires us to be among those who also bear good fruit and who serve Him with a full heart. 
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them stray.”
Proverbs 13:20 “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Proverbs 14:6-7 “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.””

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