Choosing Your Forever Friends

"My mom always told me to replace the word 'love' [in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8] with my mans name and if it's not accurate than he's not the one."

I've noticed this tweet becoming rather popular in the social media realm. I do believe it's a smart way to test your potential significant other with scripture but I also believe that this verse goes deeper than just the love we have in a dating relationship- it extends to our friendships as well.

The people you surround yourself with influence you in some way, shape, or form, which is why it is so important that we choose people who are going to impact us positively. Constantly choosing to spend our time with people who are bad influences towards us leads to a deeper temptation to do those sinful things- even when we have a strong Christian faith. It's important that the people we spend most of our time with are people who will keep us on track to win the race God has set for us. However, I have experienced first hand just how difficult it can be to not only choose but find those friends!

If you're struggling to find those good and faithful friends, it might be because you're looking in the wrong places. For me, it was a matter of taking it to God in prayer. Time and time again has He proven to me that seeking Him first allows us to seek the ones He's placed in our lives for the purpose of being a forever friend. It also helped me to come up with a list of questions to ask myself when considering if someone was that friend. Here are a few examples:

1How does this person present themselves? The way someone acts in person and on social media can say a lot about themselves. Looking at their use of language (is it vulgar? does their attitude reflect poorly?) and the kinds of pictures they post (is it inappropriate? are they influencing others in a healthy and positive way?)

2. How do they treat other friends, family members, strangers, and even the people they dislike? Is it sincere? Are they respectful? How people treat others is a reflection of how they will most likely treat you!

3. What are their extra curricular activities? This isn't talking about what sports they play or what clubs they joined but what they do with their free time. Do they talk about going to a lot of parties, using illegal substances, and other inappropriate things? Do they choose to hangout with people who do that? Be wise to keep in mind that that people don't only have to be going to a party to do be doing things they shouldn't be doing- it can happen anywhere.

4. What qualities do you find important in a friendship? Does this person live up to them? Don't settle for friends who aren't trying their best to be a good friend!

5. Are they willing to work for the friendship even when things get difficult? We've all had our ups and downs in a friendship and it's not always fun. A true friend should be willing to work to keep that friendship if it's really something they value. This also includes going out of their way to make plans!

Taking these questions and applying them to all of my relationships has helped me to see who my true friends are in life and the influence each person was creating. It also helped me to see what kind of friend I was. Am I reciprocating the kind of friendship that others give me? Am I living up to the standards I created for others? We should not only be choosing forever friends, but being that forever friend.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's okay to have friends who do not share the same beliefs as you and friends who make wrong or hurtful decisions because without them, we wouldn't have the opportunity to be that positive person for someone else. Being a positive influence to those around you can actually motivate people to change the bad influences they follow. However, it's important to make the distinction in influencing someone else constructively and letting them influence you poorly.

Seeking positive influences, choosing true friends, and surrounding yourself with people that will help you in the journey God has provided can be difficult, but so worth it. When it comes to seeking, choosing, and surrounding, remember to be that forever friend- be that right person to hang out with- to them.

You never know who might follow the example you lead.

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

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