You Can Pick Your Friends

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You Can Pick Your Friends

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Imagine your first day in a new school in a new town. Your father drops you off near the entrance on his way to work. You know no one. You feel a little lonely, a little intimidated. Immediately you identify the usual social groups. The athletes and popular girls laugh and joke as if they own the world. The long, black coats, clothes, badly dyed hair, tattoos and too many piercings mark the goths. The baggy trousers and shirts of the gangster crowd belie their sullen, semicriminal look; the girls attracted to them dress in spandex-outlined, flesh-flashing contrast. Dark-rimmed glasses of the studious types slide down their noses as they struggle to carry small libraries of books into the school. The overly wide-eyed or bloodshot-red-eyed drug- and alcohol-inflamed rock star wannabes strut their spiked or grunge hairstyles and skintight, pretorn denim outfits for all to see. Whoa—this place is starting to look like where you just moved from! The strange parade of school "friends" continues. Sprinkled among the crowd are even some regular-looking kids too—what a relief! Everyone tries so hard to fit in with some group. Your challenge is to pick a few new good friends from this modern menagerie. God made us to have friends and be friends to others. He created the role of friendship itself and declared it a very good thing. "Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's [woman's, boy's or girl's] friend gives delight by hearty counsel" (Proverbs 27:9 Proverbs 27:9Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so does the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
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). It truly is a pleasure to enjoy the company, camaraderie and counsel of a good friend. A wise Australian grandmother once said: "Love all, trust few and paddle your own canoe." As followers of Jesus Christ we're commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39 Matthew 22:39And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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). Thus, we "love all." But close friends must be chosen carefully. Thus, we "trust few." Remember, God wants your friendships to be mutually beneficial—to build each other up. To "paddle your own canoe" means you must take seriously the personal responsibility of choosing the right friends. The good news is that you can pick your friends! And with the guidelines listed below, you can pick the right ones. VT Your friends will powerfully influence you (and you them)—for good or evil. Here's how you can apply vertical thinking when picking close friends: • Who shares your outlook on life that comes from personally knowing the true God of the Bible, the Word of God itself and His plan for the salvation of mankind? • Who is a young man or woman of good character and reputation (Proverbs 22:1 Proverbs 22:1A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
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)? • Who speaks with kindness, thoughtfulness and without cursing or foulness, as "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34 Matthew 12:34O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
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)? • Who has an abiding respect for the law and a conscience to obey it (Proverbs 1:10-19 Proverbs 1:10-19 [10] My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not. [11] If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privately for the innocent without cause: [12] Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: [13] We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: [14] Cast in your lot among us; let us all have one purse: [15] My son, walk not you in the way with them; refrain your foot from their path: [16] For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. [17] Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. [18] And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privately for their own lives. [19] So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which takes away the life of the owners thereof.
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)? • Who has a respect and outgoing concern for other people and their property? • Who is sexually moral? • Who is honest and willing to tell you directly his or her considered opinion about the issues of the day or about you yourself (Proverbs 27:17 Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
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)? • Who will listen thoughtfully to your considered opinions? • Who has a desire and drive to do the right thing? • Who has some true, godly wisdom (Proverbs 9:10 Proverbs 9:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
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)? • Who sees you as more than a sex object or big hunk and has respect for you as a person? • Who refuses to flatter you to get something from you or to use you and lose you?

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