Oftentimes, we succeed or fail due to the quality of our relationships with others. Esther Williams shares why it’s important for believers to forge friendships with people who can help us become all that God has planned for us to be.
Ever heard the saying: ‘Birds of a feather flock together’? This implies that like-minded people tend to gravitate towards one another, drawing strength and security from the things they have in common.
This saying is closely related to the power of association. I have learnt over time that the people closest to us are crucial to our altitude or demise in life. Whether we succeed and fulfil our purpose on Earth – or whether our lives are plagued with heartache after heartache – is all determined by our relationships and those we do life with on a day-to-day basis.
I believe that life is meant to have ups and downs. We start off young and inexperienced; in our twenties, we tend to be riddled with insecurities and are finding our feet. In our thirties, we start to find our feet, and then life’s disappointments can almost make us lose our minds. By the time we reach forty, hopefully we should have locked down a certain level of experience and maturity. Through all of this, it is right relationships that have the power to keep us sane, sanctified and soaring in life.
The Bible teaches us to be mindful of the power that relationships can have on us. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, ‘Do not be deceived; evil company corrupts good habits.’ Good people – you and I – can be corrupted if we don’t surround ourselves with godly people. We need to prayerfully select those we choose to call our closest friends and who will have influence in our lives.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 states, ‘But we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the traditions which he received from us.’ It continues in verse 14 to say, ‘If anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.’
And Proverbs 13:20 says, ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.’
Wrong associations are one of the key reasons why many Christians don’t finish well. I am so grateful to God for the people He has brought into my life. Many of the friends I had twenty years ago, I still have today. God uses them to sharpen me, correct me when I’m wrong, and encourage me to climb to greater heights in life and in Christ. I am terrible at fasting; I hate it because I love food. Every Monday, I pray and fast, but recently I wanted to do a whole week. However, by lunchtime on Tuesday, the canteen menu had caused me to fall! But… I have a friend who can really fast! And I have quite a competitive streak. The other day, she was in my flat saying she fasts twice a week. That same week, another one of my friends texted me to say she was fasting, and I thought, ‘Well, I am not going to be left out of this!’
I cannot stress enough the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are hungry for more of God and passionate about getting things right in life.
I like to associate with people of a similar age to me, whom I have lots in common with. These tend to be girlfriends whom I have known for a long time. Then, it is crucial for me to have ‘people who have done it’ around me. These could be new friends, or members of my church family, who are more experienced and have lived a lot longer on this Earth than I have. Then I have my secret weapon, stellar associations: Mamas – people who are late sixties plus; their families have all left home, and they just pray and seek the Lord. I have about four of these powerful associations. They are not friends in the typical sense, but I know they will pray for me and cover my back in the spirit. Let’s face it, we have all done the ‘I will pray for you, sister (or brother)’ thing, and then just forget! We get too busy doing life. But Mamas will pray and fast and intercede; they don’t have the temptation of the office canteen or the busy lifestyles to contend with.
Associate with wise people, people who have vision, and you will become a person with purpose and direction. That doesn’t mean that you cut people out, who are growing in their faith and making mistakes along the way – we have all been there and we will continue to make our own mistakes. But carefully choose those whom you allow access to your heart. Finally, let Psalm 101 be your prayer: ‘I will sing of mercy and justice to You, O Lord. I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes, and hate the work of those who fall away. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.’
God bless you.
love God, love life, love people.