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The rooted thinking website posted a great article that lists six guidelines for choosing friends that will help a believer better carry out their Christian walk.  The title is “Choosing Friends that Spark Your Fire for God” by M. R. Conrad and the link is http://rootedthinking.com/2020/10/22/choosing-friends-that-spark-your-fire-for-god/  .  Let me briefly give some observations about this article,  I recommend that you read it because every day that passes without the best selection of friends is a day that is gone forever.

Every day that passes without the best selection of friends is a day that is gone forever.

First, a believer should seek friends with folks who are more spiritually mature.  This makes sense because the spiritual environment in which you reside impacts how you are spiritually. 

the spiritual environment in which you reside impacts how you are spiritually

Second, a believer should spend time with those who push him or her closer to God.  While it may be somewhat extreme in this context, the idiom “if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas” is true even in the church setting.  The people with whom you associate will influence your spiritual growth.

if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas

Third, a believer should spend time in uplifting spiritual conversations with their friends.  This guideline relates to the first and the second.  Sometimes it may take some effort, but is worthwhile to talk about spiritual things. 

it takes effort to begin conversations about spiritual things.

Fourth, a believer should be open to the spiritual counsel of their friends.  If you have developed friendships with believers who are more spiritually and with whom you enter into substantive discussions, it is likely they will see you differently than how you see yourself.  The counsel they give can be very valuable to either help direct you on the right path or keep you off the wrong path.

be willing to listen to godly advice from trusted friends.

Fifth, it only makes sense for a believer to encourage other believers who encourage them.  The phenomenon of mutual encouragement is a great help to growing in spiritual maturity.  Believers live in a world surrounded by discouragement so that mutual encouragement is a great tool to keep the fires for God burning.

mutual encouragement is a great tool to keep the fires for God burning

Sixth, a believer should allow God to lead and guide through advice from godly friends.  If your friends are godly, then the advice you receive will be Bible-based.  You cannot go wrong with Bible-based advice. 

let God lead and guide through Bible-based counsel

Finally, the author cites 2 Timothy 2:22 (NET), which reads in the New English Translation:

22 But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22 (ESV) in the English Standard Version reads:

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Note the phrase “in company with others” (NET) and “along with those” (ESV).  The ESV translates the Greek proposition meta as “along with” and it functions as preposition of association that shows in what company or in association to what entity the related verbal action is occurring.  See Lukaszewski, A. L. (2007). The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary. Lexham Press.  Here, Paul advised Timothy to be in the company of those who call on the Lord with a pure heart, i.e., saved people, when he fled “youthful passions” and pursued “righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” 

To make sure of my interpretation, I checked a translation handbook (Arichea, D. C., & Hatton, H. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s letters to Timothy and to Titus (p. 216). New York: United Bible Societies) that seems to agree with this interpretation:

Along with signals the application of these admonitions to a wider group. Those who call upon the Lord is an expression that probably refers to Christians in general (see Rom 10:13), although it may also be interpreted in a nontechnical sense as a reference to prayer, hence “those who pray to the Lord.” It is possible in Greek for along with those to be connected with peace (hence “peace with those,” compare NEB “peace with all who invoke the Lord”). It is more likely, though, that the interpretation of RSV and TEV is closer to the intention of the text, which means that along with those signals the application of these admonitions to a much bigger group.

Note that the Revised Standard Version reads:

22 So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change.  Today can be the day of your salvation!  Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.  You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ). 

If you have comments, questions, observations or the like, please leave a comment in the comments section or send me an email at steve@stevebelsheim.com.

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