Avoid foolishness: choose friends wisely

April 15, 2024
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by Shannon Caughey

As a coach, you see the impact on athletes of the friends they choose to hang around. When these friends influence them toward doing the right things—whether athletically or in their personal lives—athletes have a much better chance of reaching their full potential. But when the friends they spend time with are making poor choices, that almost always has a detrimental impact on athletes. In light of this, you’ve likely talked with your athletes about the importance of choosing friends wisely.

Proverbs communicates this very message to each of us. Because the current month begins with “April Fools’ Day,” we’re doing a series of devotions on avoiding foolishness. One of the crucial ways to avoid foolishness—and all the destructive consequences that come when we refuse to listen to God and live according to his design—is to choose friends wisely. Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous choose their friends carefully…” Proverbs 13:20 gives this direction: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Let’s consider this from a couple of angles.

First, choose the kinds of friends that influence you to honor Christ. Proverbs (and the rest of the Bible) is not saying that we should have nothing to do with anyone who hasn’t put their faith in the Lord. In fact, God’s Word directs us to befriend, love, and serve those who need Jesus. What Proverbs is urging is that we choose carefully who we “walk with”—meaning, the friends we connect most deeply with and who have the most consistent influence in our life. These are the people whose values, convictions, habits, and goals we are most likely to adopt for ourselves.

Proverbs warns against this type of influential friendship with people whose attitudes and behaviors will take you away from what God desires. For example, Prov. 22:24 advises, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person…” Instead, be intentional about building deeper connections with those who encourage you to honor Christ—through their model, and through their willingness to encourage and challenge you to live according to the Lord’s design. Prov. 27 observes that “wounds from a friend can be trusted” (v. 6), and “the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel” (v. 9). Choose the kinds of friends that influence you to honor Christ.

Now think about this from the other side: Be the kind of friend who influences others for Christ. Wisdom comes as you are intentional about building friendships with those who are committed to trusting and following Jesus. Wisdom multiplies as you pursue being that type of friend to others: modeling for them the values, convictions, habits, and goals that are centered on Christ. It’s about being a friend who loves God with all that you are and loves others with his love.

This isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being purposeful: wanting to live and coach for the Lord’s glory, desiring to help others do this as well, and taking steps to build friendships that reflect this purpose. Think of the impact you would have as Prov. 17:17 is true of you: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Be the kind of friend who influences others for Christ.

To avoid foolishness in how you live and coach, consider who you are “walking with” day by day. Are you being influenced by friends who are wise according to God’s definition? Do others look to you as a friend who encourages them to trust and follow Jesus? Choose friends wisely and you will honor Christ.

For reflection: Think about the friends that currently have the biggest influence in your life. Do they encourage you to honor Christ? Are there changes you need to make in who you’re “walking with”? Do you need to be more intentional about being a friend who influences others for Christ? Talk with the Lord about these things.



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