5/21/13 - PTC_Proverbs 18 - "Currents"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
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Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)
"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
I love getting a moment to stand on the shores of the Mississippi river. The river is huge and powerful. It serves the South in many ways. It's a major highway for barges. It's a vital source of water and food for the countless habitats that surround it. Most of all it stands as a force of nature not to be reckoned with. Growing up in Memphis, on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, you learn that you don't try to swim across the river. First of all, it's too big. But even if you were a well trained swimmer, you would face violent currents that have been known to hold people under for up to a mile down river. As you start reading today's post, I want you to visualize the power of a current like this.
Who? Whenever you read "one" you might as well consider that the author is addressing you.
What? This passage is about friendship. I can just about guarantee that NO ONE disagree with this Scripture. We all know plenty of people who got caught up in the wrong crowd and it ruined their lives. In fact, I'll bet that if you look back at some of your worst decisions or greatest regrets you can usually identify the presence of "unreliable" friends. This means your friends may either be bad influences or you have friends who simply have no influence. In both cases you have "unreliable" friends.
"Come to ruin" Here we see that there is an assumed correlation between friendship and success or failure in life. Is this how you view your friendships? You cannot out swim the current of your closest friends. Our friends create a current in our lives that keep us moving in a direction even when we are not necessarily in agreement or actively pursuing it. This works for the good and the bad. Good friends create a current toward good things, simply being that "current" will help you get past your own hesitation or difficulties that may arise. This happened to me yesterday! I was leading a prayer time at Highpoint Church (we have a daily prayer time from 12-1pm). On this particular day - I was the ONLY one who showed up. That's ok, because I was there to pray not socialize. About halfway through the time a very good friend showed up. He had been in a meeting and was able to finish the meeting and join me. It was a much needed boost for my prayer time. There's something about the current a friend helps create to keep you moving in a desirable direction. Likewise, we see this happen all too often with the negative. We see people pulled down by their so-called friends. That's why we use the phrase "caught up." They were caught up in a bad grip of friends.
"BUT" this word transitions the focus from the bad friend to the good friend in out text. We see a different kind of friend and a different outcome. There is a kind of friend that sticks even closer than a brother. Now, this statement carries weight with me because I have a brother. He is a great brother and extremely loyal and supportive of me. I have total confidence in him with virtually anything happening in my life. This Proverb is reaching even beyond my understanding of a good brother. There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother! It is possible to have such good friends that you see them as family or more than family. The implication is that this kind of friend loves you and seeks your best interest.
I've been blessed to have both a brother and some additional friends who meet this criteria. And the result is my life is guarded. They create a current of holiness and health in my life that carries me when I'm not up for the effort on a given day. This is why you need good friends. You don't have enough desire to be your best everyday. However, a good friend will encourage you and hold you accountable and see what is best for you. Bad friends compete with you, judge you and look for ways to capitalize on your shortcomings. Bad friends use you for their selfish gain.
You cannot underestimate your friendships. You need to think hard about the friends you keep. While you are thinking, consider what kind of friend you are to those you run with. I am so grateful for the friends I have. Even the example of Casey showing up for the prayer time proved again how much I am able to lean on friends when I need to.
Think about it…
- Who is your best friend?
- Do they create a positive or negative current in your life?
- Are you proud of the direction your life is headed?
- What kind of current do you create in others' lives?
God, thank you for the good friends that have surrounded me most of my life. I would never be where I am without them. I pray that you help me to trust my friends more and more and even in the busyness of life I would be diligent to bring them in and be blessed by the positive currents they create. I pray I would be a better friend. I pray that you would help my sons grow up and find good friends. I know at some point the current of their friends could have the power to sweep them away from the currents of their family. God, please help my boys have good friends.
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