Text: Prov 27:9—10, 17 Ecc 4:9—12 Amos 3:3
The idea is ancient in all its ramifications, at the creation a man the creator himself described and planned friendship with and for the created man. His loneliness was viewed by the creator as an unpleasant phenomenon. Even after a companion was made by God for Adam, the creator himself cultivated and maintained a friendship with humanity i.e. the man and the woman until they were separated by a friend who neither wanted the permanent companion with either of the good friends (Gen. 2:20-25, 3).
Every society experiences a kind of kind of complexity within its social-cultural milieu which negatively or positively affects people in their relationship with each other. Friends at some various times play helpful roles with each other as well as exhibiting quite negative dispositions towards one another. Biblically examples are inexhaustible to wit: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, could be a positive example while Sampson and Delilah, Ammon and Jonadab epitomise negative influence.
However, the normal life is one of friendship. Friends are a reflection of our own worthiness and source of help for own inadequacies. Friends are precious responsibilities; therefore, I have the problem of choosing friends, of making and holding friends, and of being a friend.
A friend is like bread to a hungry appetite; like a balancing pole for walking the tightrope or life; like a soothing ointment for the cut and bruises of life a golden link in the chain of life, and like a vine that clings to us despite our weakness.
What one lacks another possesses. We all possess some things in common, but we all are not endowed alike. We find help in us for their failings. This is what makes friendship so delightful.
WHAT IS INFLUENCE?
- A power affecting a person, thing, or cause of events, especially one that operates without direct or apparent effort.
- Power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability or position.
- An effect or change produced by influence
- A captive factor that tends to have effect on what you do:- Eternate free dictionary
We can sum-up the facts contained in these definitions that influence means the power to manipulate, affect, pressurize, sway, coax, captivate or control other person or a group of people or other things. Thus depicting or producing the ability to positively or negatively affect model people’s lives.
Someone emotionally close, such that is trusted and enjoys acquaintance with each other. Encarta “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”.
THE FRIENDSHIP PHENOMENON
The fact or occurrence that can be observed within the ambit of our daily life is the human dire need for companionship; such is the purpose for the development of friendship. This phenomenon cuts across ages, though, friendship or the idea of friends may exist and be weighty among the young and the middle age, however, many friends that began at adolescent period may prolong into adulthood, where friends continue together for such long periods, we must agree that there exist mutual harmony between them. Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
Solomon made it plain that we should be careful in the selection of friends: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man shall thou not go” (Prov. 22:24) he added: “Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snared to thy soul” (Prov. 22:25)
Thus our selection of friends should not be based upon wealth, education or prestige, but rather upon their being right kind of people, regardless of their statues in life.
The qualities that are needed in making a holding friend are very same qualities to look for selecting friends these may be summarized thus:
- Be Friendly. (Prov. 18:24) – “Sour godliness is the devil’s religion” warmness draws people; coldness repels them.
- Be Helpful in Adversity (prov. 17:17). People want to be loved. The story of the good Samaritan is an excellent illustration (Luke 10: 30-37)
- Posses A Humility That Will Cause You To Mix And Mingle With All Classes Of People (Phil. 2:3). Our Lord associated with people of all calibre without getting down on their level of sin. (Matt. 9:11, Luke 7:36-48)
- Be Unselfish. (Phil. 2:4, Matt. 20:28) Think of others, put them first is the secret to having friends.
- Be Tolerant. (Col. 3:13). Tolerance is a beautiful and attractive quality to cultivate within ourselves and as we cultivate our self we cultivate our friendship. (Matt. 7:1)
- Be Sincere, Truthful and Honest – The essential for plain living. (Phil. 1:10, Rom. 13:13) insecurity will repel would be friends.
- Follow the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).
- Be Stable – This will adorn your character and make you inviting or a friend, as you will be source of strength and security to others. (Ps. 1:3, Jas 1:8)
- Be loyal, Paul the apostle received strength and courage from the loyalty of his friend Onesiphorus (II Tim. 1:16) disloyalty hurts (Job. 19:14, 19)
- Be a friend-in-need – If I were someone else, would want me as a friend?
Scriptural description of our society
Apostle Peter by the spirit while referring to our generation as “Untoward” other translations prefer “Crooked”, Paul the Apostle rends his voice by inspiration when he described our generation in the following: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, obscure, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… having a form of godliness but denying its power…(2 Tim. 4:2-3) it is this dark world that God expects the light of the Christians to shine (Isaiah 60:1, Matt. 5:14-16)
The Christians are living in a world full of darkness, the Bible describes it “gross darkness” (Isaiah 60:2) where he is to shine a light on a lamp-stand and a city on hell which cannot be hidden. Such becomes the target for all, whether thieves or wild beasts.
My observation has revealed that whenever light is turned on in the darkness, bet insects and other creeping things head straight towards it, not to enjoy the benefit of the light but to put it out. This is why humans create light with differences around them. Christ the light of the world, received different categories of people, from the Pharisees who tried to tempt him and sway his beliefs to demon possessed who tried hard to overthrow his mission purpose on earth.
The Christian as the light (Matt. 5:14) must shine against all odds, in a world full of darkness. The night is far spent; the day is at hand, therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (Rom. 13:12) whatever causes my radiating efficiency is a positive influence.
FUEL FOR THE NIGHT
The story of the Ten Virgins holds several lessons for the follower of Jesus Christ, the obvious being the need to be ready for the coming of the son of God at any moment. As I look close I see yet another lesson overlooked, the five virgins called foolish, were in the company of the five wise, the five wise had extra oil for the night, they understood the complexity of waiting for the bridegroom they prepared themselves and persuaded each other to hold extra oil. The ‘foolish’ had different thoughts and planned differently. But at the crucial moment desired the other five to help, which was met with rejection. (Luke. 25: 1-13)
We like the ten virgins, live and wait in the night (Rom. 13:12), we therefore, do not need friends or companions who will keep their oil only to themselves, neither do we need companions who will know the hazards of the night yet keep to themselves, only to direct others when it is too late.
FRIEND OR FOE
The world in all its ramifications is contrary to the faith once for all times delivered to the saints. Therefore, the Bible condemns friendship with the world (James 4:4). Friendship with the world means, loving this present world system (II Tim. 4:9) living a life in compliable with Holy Living, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15, 16)”.
The world and all its fashions pass away, like the beauty of a flower that lasts only when the bud opens anew, but withers with the going down of the sun. Friendship with the world, ungodly men portends to create a negative confrontation in a Christian. “And be not conformed (fashioned according) to this world: but ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom 12:2) And man’s foe shall be they of his household. (Matt. 10:36)
THE RODS AND THE FLOCKS
A great story of Jacob, Laban and his flocks, powerfully illustrate how the material can influence the production capacity of animals. (Gen. 30: 37-43), Jacob made colours from trees that reflected into the water that the flock drank, and this had great influence on their production of coloured sheep.
Whatever, you keep your eyes upon your life will be patterned after such. When a good Christian begins to make friends with people who love ungodly things, or those who are lukewarm, their desire for the things of God begin to die and he will begin to engage in behaviours which stern from corruption. “Do not be deceived: Evil Company corrupts good habits”. (1 Cor. 15:33)
When a man walks with wise friends, he himself begins to learn wisdom.
When a man walks with successful men, he himself begins to succeed.
When a man walks with diligent people, he learns diligence.
When a man walks with peaceful people, he learns a life of peace.
When a man walks with generous people, he learns generosity.
When a man walks with faithful people, he learns faithfulness.
When a man walks with zealous people, he learns zeal.
Show me a man’s friend and I will tell you who he is likely to be.
People of all ages, whether young or old crave for things which they believe are better than they have. They want to be better than who they are at a given period.
Friends influence each other by living a path that others have not thread. This means that others are setting a standard for me to follow. All of these are not wrong; because, a soul without challenges in life will never know victory, and will consequently never grow to the expected height. The only evil of influence is such as exemplified by Prov. 1:10-19.
The society may live adverse to the standard set-up by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christian must Beat-nik by the way he speaks (Col. 4:16). We must not allow any corrupt communication come out of our mouths during political participation (Eph. 4:31, Titus 3:2, James 4:11) when speaking in public or with others (II Tim. 2:16).
Friends should be influenced by the way we dress, because, the Bible has set out a standard for both men and women and the guiding principle is MODESTY. No style, nor kind.
None in this life can show us how to walk with God better than Jesus Christ. Movies, novels nor music can do this better. Looking unto Jesus (Heb. 12:2) He is our role model. My friends should be influenced by me.