Friendship: God’s Great Design for Happiness and Growth

2. Friendship matters because it makes us.

One of the most staggering verses in all of Scripture is Proverbs 13:20: “He that walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.” According to that verse, friendship is more than just important. Friendship is the most formative factor in your life. Get your friends right, and you’re setting yourself up for success. Get them wrong, and you all but guarantee failure. Or, as I’ve heard it said, show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

Are there exceptions to this? Sure. But as a general rule, as Craig Groeschel says, you are the average of your five closest friends. If four of your five closest buddies were stoned last night, chances are you were, too. But if four of your best friends are passionately following God, you probably are as well. You were made for friendship, and in turn, friendship makes you.

We spend so much time agonizing over choosing the right spouse, but few of us put any thought into choosing our friends. But your friendships are actually more likely to shape your life than your family members—even your spouse. A 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the friend relationship was the most telling one when it came to gaining weight. If your spouse or your adult sibling gained weight, you had a 40 percent higher chance of gaining weight, too. But if your friend gained weight, your chances jumped up 60 percent. (So if your “bestie” suddenly announces that ‘every night is ice cream night,’ you might want to have a talk.)

We all have something we’d like to become—a better student, a more patient parent, a more faithful Christian. But what if the decision to become was really a decision to become friends? You and I might be one friend away from becoming a better spouse, a better parent … or one friend away from being a worse one. So be wise about who you are walking through life with. It’s good to have a lot of friends, but who are your closest friends? And what are their lives like? You show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.  

For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.

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J.D. Greear
J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.