Whether we are an extrovert or an introvert, we should all have three types of friends in our lives. Through these friendships, we become wise, fulfilled and responsible.
The book of Proverbs speaks extensively about the first kind of friendships or relationships we should have in our life. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13.20 ESV) We should all have “wise people” in our lives, counselors. They do not have to be professionals or to have a certificate in the subject, but people who have succeeded in their field.
Keep in your address book (physical or virtual!) the name of a financially wise person to help you stay on top of your finances. If you are in a stage of your life where you need to clean your finances, ask that person to watch you for a while; choose to be accountable to them, so they can protect you from temptations. Do the same with your desire to get married: look in your friends for an old couple who has a strong and edifying marriage. They will be your inspiration. Of course, follow a spiritually mature Christian to encourage you to improve your relationship with God. If you need to lose a few pounds or just get in shape, turn to a friend who is successful in this area. Follow these tips and make a commitment to inform them of your evolution, to motivate you. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11.14 ESV)
Another type of friendship to look for is for fun! We all need a moment of entertainment, to chit-chatting about the world; times when we can be creative or burn calories! Ask Ecclesiastes, the author often mentioned that we should enjoy our life and have fun. It does not just work that counts! These real friendships (not those on Facebook) are those that allow us to share our joys, but also that allow us to demonstrate our empathy. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17.17 ESV)
Your friends are the ones with whom you share affinities. It is possible that one of them is also expert in a particular area, and that they can also give you good advice, but not necessarily. Some friends are good gym partners, but they are horrible relationship counselors! You don’t have to banish them from your life, but only enjoy their presence for what they are. This girl is perhaps the best girlfriend for a shopping, but she is terrible at managing her finances! Do not exclude her from your life, but while laughing with her, do not let yourself be influenced with her expenses. You still need these friends … after all, you will need bridesmaids and groomsmen at your wedding, right?!
And who knows, you may be able to be a positive influence for your friends. Which leads us to the third type of friends to have in your life: disciples. We are not talking here about becoming a guru, followed by little zombies! Jesus told us to make disciples, that is, to encourage young believers to grow in their relationship with God. “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28.19 KJV) God has given us talents to put to the benefit of the rest of the Body of Christ; we cannot stay hidden. The call to “feed the sheep” is not just for the pastor. Just as a big sister will help her mother to take care of the youngest children, so should we, with the younger Christian around us. Give what you have received, share your testimony and experiences to encourage other Christians to grow in their faith.
Helping others helps us, it keeps ourselves in good standing. If we know that someone can call us at any time to ask us to pray for them, we will make sure to always have good communion with God to be ready when they call. Knowing that younger Christians are following our example, we will pay more attention to our direction. (Read this other article on this.) This is how we become responsible people, mature Christians.
Do you have these three types of friends in your life? We all need wise friends, to whom we can turn for advice; other friends with whom we can rest or entertain ourselves (while remaining pure, of course!); and other friends to whom we can be a big brother or a big sister.