Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Sin doesn’t have to own you and if you’re in Christ victory over sin is already yours. The Holy Spirit guides you as you face temptation and provides a way out. But what about that friend of yours who has all the same tools you do but continues to live in bondage to sin?
The writer of Hebrews (apparently a pastor) calls on Christians to lift each other up, to encourage one another. Essentially, he’s saying to use teamwork to stay away from sin. Use the buddy system to achieve victory over the evil desires you encounter.
Friends are for a greater purpose than hanging out and having fun. A real friend can stand by your side and encourage you when you’re having difficulty with sin and temptation. The Holy Spirit gives you a way out and the friend helps you choose to follow it. You should do the same for them.
Proverbs 12:26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
When you think about keeping yourself healthy, you might not think about your friendships as part of the mix, but the Bible warns us about who we choose as friends and the effects of choosing poorly.
There are certain kinds of people that we should never surround ourselves with, and then there are kinds of people that we should absolutely spend time with. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love everyone and care for all people, but the closest of friends should be chosen wisely. Will they build you up and strengthen your faith, or will they make it harder for you to live the life God has called you to?
I’ve had times in my life when I hung out with very negative people, with very immoral people, or with very unbelieving people, and as much as I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives, they made it incredibly difficult for me to grow spiritually. By distancing myself from those friends, while still maintaining contact, I was able to get around people with whom I could have a mutually encouraging relationship.
Love all people, seek out others to care for, but choose your close friends with discernment. They’ll affect your own health.