If you’re having a tug of war with someone who’s standing on a chair, you’re going to win (even if they’re way stronger than you!). Think about your friends: Do they build you up, or do they pull you down?
Newsflash: God cares about your friendships! Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Similarly, 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”
Have you ever done something you wouldn’t otherwise do because your friends were doing it? Have you ever lied to your friends so you didn’t look bad? Do you have a friend with a self-destructive habit but you’ve never said anything about it?
Who’s influencing you? And who are you influencing?
Are you pulling your friends up, or are they pulling you down (or are YOU pulling your friends DOWN!)?
Circle of Concern: These are your friends who are people you care about and who care about you, but you don’t really spend tons of time together and you don’t know personal things about each other. If this person lost a family member you’d be sad for them, but your daily life wouldn’t be greatly effected. Obviously, this group of “acquaintances” is going to be your biggest group of “friends.” (Most of your “Facebook friends” would fall into this category)
Circle of Influence: These are people who actually listen to. You spend time together, and you know each other pretty well. You know their family and their other friends. This group of friends is usually pretty limited for most people.
Circle of Intimacy: These are people who know just about everything about you, and you know just about everything about them… and you still love each other! Remember, “Intimacy is the joy of knowing someone fully and being known by that person with no fear of rejection” (Andy Stanley). These friends care more about you than they do about the friendship, because they love you enough to tell you what you need to hear. They don’t pull punches in telling you hard things (“Mike, you’re being really stupid, and if you keep this up it’s NOT going to be good!”). These friends are extremely rare and take a LONG TIME (10 years, maybe?) to develop.
Where do your friends fall? Not all friends are created equal, and that’s ok! Do you have true Christian friends in your Circles of Influence? If all your Circle of Influence friends are non-Christians, really think about what sort of influence they’re having on you.
- Who do you need to cut out of your life?
- Whose influence do you need to limit in your life?
- Who do you want to influence you more?