Choosing Friends Wisely

Steve Arterburn

Men, the company we keep makes a big difference between whether we move forward in spiritual maturity or backslide into sin. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:33, ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Never consider yourself too strong to heed the apostle’s warning.

 

The book of Proverbs, on the other hand, offers this wisdom for skillful living: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Wood doesn’t sharpen iron; neither does stone. When it comes to intimate friendships, men, like needs like. So with this in mind, you ought to be spending time with people who will sharpen your thinking, support you with prayer, and encourage you with their character.

Friends who live their lives without self-pity and bitterness can nurture your growth. Although it can be good to get input from people who struggle with the same temptations you do, try to spend time with people who have a history of struggling honestly, faithfully, and redemptively with these issues. Whiners, pessimists, complainers, and people with hopeless indifference simply don’t make good friends.

Guys, we all need other people. But none of us need people who will drag us in a direction that goes against God’s high calling upon our lives. We need other men who will encourage us, confront us, and continually nudge us in the right direction. Choose friends like these, and you’ll be choosing your friends wisely. 

The Perfect-Mate Myth

Stephen Arterburn

Gentlemen, North American culture wields a tremendous influence upon Christians’ values in many areas. One in particular is the area of relationships where many of us have fallen for what I call the ‘Perfect-Mate Myth.’ This myth applies to single and married men, and goes something like this: ‘If I just had the right woman, my life would be all right.’

Let me be blunt: this belief is incredibly ignorant. First, because it assumes that our problems are all external’that our real problem is an imperfect spouse or the lack thereof. Second, because it assumes that there’s such a thing as a ‘perfect’ spouse.

This delusion keeps us from spiritual maturity. It prevents married men from doing the hard work and making the commitment necessary to build and repair their relationship with their wives, and it tempts single men to put their lives on hold until that ‘perfect’ woman appears.

Men, the perfect mate myth is an unhealthy fantasy. Focus your attention on your relationship with God. He wants a married man’s attitude to be, ‘I’m in this for the long haul. I’m going to dedicate myself to and work at making this marriage last.’ This is how an active and true faith comes alive in a marriage.

Similarly, God wants the attitude of every single Christian man to be, ‘God, I’m yours, with or without a spouse, and I will focus my attention on my relationship with you.”

Whatever your situation, God is sufficient to meet your needs.