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Building Wise Friendships - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 17, 2022 12:00 am

Building Wise Friendships - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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October 17, 2022 12:00 am

Hear about the value in having a true, loyal, and devoted friend.

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Welcome to the InTouch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, October 17. Today's program reminds us of the importance and blessing of close friendships. Here's part one of Building Wise Relationships. What genuine friends do you have? I'm not talking about casual friendships. Casual friendships can be many. Casual friendships can usually come rather quickly. But real, genuine, loyal, devoted, loving friends, they're not many of those. They don't come quickly.

It takes time to build them. What I want to talk about in this message is, listen, I want to talk about building wise friendships, those friendships that make a difference in our life as well as the life of the person who becomes our friend. So I want you to turn to just one single verse in Proverbs chapter eighteen. Now the book of Proverbs has a number of things to say about friendships. But I want us to look at this particular verse, twenty-fourth verse of this eighteenth chapter of Proverbs. Here's what the Scripture says.

The Bible says that a man, and let me just say this, when the Bible says a man, that means mankind, men, women, whoever. Listen to this. A man or woman of too many friends comes to ruin.

Well, you say, well, what in the world could that mean? Looks like to me, the more friends you have, the better off you have. But listen to what he says. A man of too many friends comes to ruin. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

There is a friend who sticks closer than even a brother. Now when he says a man of too many friends comes to ruin, what does it mean? The word ruin here means to be shaken so badly that you fall to pieces. When a person comes to ruin, they're shaken so badly by something, they just fall to pieces. And what he's saying is this, that this person who has so many friends, they have many friends, their friendships are broad, but not very deep. That is, when things get rough, they get going. And so he says when this happens, there's no one to depend upon, no real genuine anchoring friend to depend upon. And so when the going gets rough, they're gone.

And so he says the person falls to pieces. Do you have a friend who will stick by you no matter what? I am very grateful that I have a handful of friends who will stick by me no matter what. Do they always agree with me? No.

Do they love me? Yes. Are they loyal, devoted, faithful, true, genuine friends?

Yes. And in all the difficulties and hardships in my own life, these people have stood with me, stood by me, no matter what. Genuine, loving, loyal, devoted friends. And most people could not find three of those kind of people in their life. Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message.

And I want us to think for just a moment about this whole idea. It is certainly God's plan for the life of every single one of us to have genuine, intimate friends. Maybe not many, but at least some. Close friends, a number of close friends. But those very, very few small group that one or two or maybe three or maybe a few more than that, if you can do that. Genuine, intimate friends.

And I want to talk about what's required to do that. And when you think about those kind of friends and you think about what the Lord said when He said, it's not good for man to be alone. He intended for us to build, to develop, to establish, to have those kind of relationships to help fill up our life.

Now God certainly can make all of us, any one of us, adequate and sufficient within ourselves through Himself. But He desires, not that we live as lone rangers, but that we live among friends and have friendships. For example, you can ask psychiatrists or psychologists, the people who are sitting there week after week and month after month, you have to hear and listening to people's heartaches and burdens and problems and all kind of counsels. They're going to tell you one of the major problems in society today is loneliness. The fact that people do not feel closeness. They don't feel intimacy. They don't have that support. They don't have that undergirding. They don't hear that encouragement. They don't feel that love.

They don't sense that acceptance. They're very lonely. They feel shut out. And the only way to feel when you feel shut out, you also feel shut in. Now as a result, some people have built their own walls. And so when you build a wall around you to shuttle the people out, remember this, you also shut yourself into a very small world.

It is very important that we develop and establish wise friendships, not just any kind, but wise friendships. Now, I want to look at you in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians because here is a very solemn warning and every parent should say this to their children and say it loud and clear. But this is a principle and a warning that I believe God gives us here in this fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. And look, if you will, a very short verse, the thirty-third verse says, Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good morals.

That is, a person who is immoral or has very low ethical standards or who has very little standard at all and whose behavior and conduct is not what it ought to be. He says, Don't be deceived. Now, what does he say, Don't be deceived?

Because many people have said, Well, you know, I know that he is not a Christian or she's not a Christian, but they're good people. Or now I know that my boyfriend is not a Christian. He didn't go to church. He's not been baptized. But and I want to tell you, young lady, young man, when you say but what you have just confessed is there's something wrong with this dad or mom.

I don't want to admit it, but something's wrong. He says, Listen, do not be deceived. Don't let the devil deceive you into thinking that you can fellowship with, that you can build a relationship with someone who is corrupted in their nature. And it not affect you because our friendships that I'm going to show in a few moments have a tremendous impact upon our life.

But listen to what he says. He says, Bad company. That is, you have to decide what is bad company. And the question is, bad company is anything that would draw me away from the living God whom I love and choose to serve and to whom all of us desire to please.

Now, what is the impact? What is the impact of friendships in your life? Friendships can delight us. And that is, we should all have friendships that delight us. That is, we enjoy being with them. We enjoy fellowshiping with them. We enjoy going places or we have the same interest in life. And so there's a sense of enjoyment.

There's a sense of pleasure. That is, every friendship certainly ought to delight us because certainly it's something that we have in common, some common interest is what brought us together to begin with. A second thing is this, and that is, those friendships can develop us. That is, a good friendship can certainly help us to develop in our life and our personality. We learn how to get along with people. We learn how to give and take. We learn how to relate on a more intimate basis because so many people's relationships are very superficial. How you doing? Good to see you. And well, how are you? It's superficial.

It's sort of surface and there's nothing deep about it. And that's why he says, a person comes to ruin in great times of difficulty if all of your friendships are very surfaced up because you don't open your heart to them. And so first of all, we said those relationships will impact us by bringing us delight. Sometimes they develop us. And thirdly, they drive us. You say, well, what do you mean? A good friendship can drive you.

Now, I don't mean driven in the wrong way, but simply this way. And that is, they highly motivate us. When you have the right kind of wise friendship with someone, that friendship will probably motivate you, motivate you how?

Motivate you to want to do your best. That is, there's something about a friendship, a close friendship, that their encouragement and their commendation is encouraging, motivating. When they say to you, I just want you to know I'm going to be praying for you today. I want you to know that I'm going to be thinking about you when you go to that meeting or when you meet this person or when you face this or when you deal with this situation. Oh, it's going to be tough on your day. Just want you to know I'm praying for you.

I know you're going to do your best and I just want you to know you can count on me. There's something very motivating about that. And so friendships can do just that. They can drive us. Now, likewise, friendships can disillusion us. That is, here's someone that we have had a great friendship with, we thought. We have believed in them. They believed in us. They've been by our side at times. And then for some reason or the other, they head out in the other direction.

Maybe it's because they choose to step away from God or maybe it's some other reason. But we see them walk away from us at a time in their life when we need their loyalty and their faithfulness and their love. Or it just may be that someone who's been your friend, they turn on you for some reason. And we don't always understand why people do that, but sometimes friendships can disillusion us.

Now, if you don't respond right, you can say, well, if that's the kind of friend he is, you know what? I'm not trusting anybody else. And I think many people have come to those situations in life where they have had broken relationships where they don't trust anybody. Well, if he could do that or she could do that, I'm not opening my heart ever again to anybody.

I'm not opening my spirit. I'm not going to try to develop any relationships, any friendships, because you know what? You don't ever know what people are going to do next. You can't trust people.

And on and on they go. Sometimes those friendships can disillusion us. Not only that, they can be worse. Sometimes friendships can bring on great distress. They can distress us, especially if a person's going through difficulty or hardship, or maybe we're going through something and we don't feel like that person's loving us, accepting us, encouraging us like we need. And so it can become distressful.

Or we see that person violating the Word of God, walking away from God, and you have done your best to help them and encourage them, don't do that. You're heading in the wrong direction. You're making a mistake. And I'm telling you, if you do this, you're going to be sorry.

You know what? Then making them is what you say, what you do. And for those of us who love people and want to have relationships, it's very distressing to see someone deliberately walk away that you know they're going to hurt. And because of your care for them and love for them, we experience hurt. Sometimes it can be distressful.

And then I would say one of the words, two of the words. One of them is, it can drag us down. A relationship or friendship can drag us down. And that is especially if that person is very strong in their convictions and they begin to wander. And they begin to put pressure on you. And they begin to try to convince you and persuade you.

And I think many people who have walked with God have built a relationship with someone. And little by little, very little by little, over a period of time, their convictions got whittled away. Their desires to please God got whittled away. And finally they found themselves because of that relationship and because of the strength of the relationship and the loyalty they felt and the love and acceptance. And because they can't seem to do without that friendship, they get drug down the same way.

They're dragged away from their moorings. And what happens is the fellowship and the friendship loses its spark, loses its real strength. And before long the fellowship and the relationship is broken apart and someone almost destroyed someone else.

Which leads me to the last word and that's destroy. And that is unwise fellowship, unwise relationship, unwise companionship, unwise friendship can absolutely destroy a person's life. They can become so distressed. They can become so disenchanted. They can become so depressed in their life because of what's happened in that relationship.

They make decisions that absolutely destroy their present life and their future because they couldn't handle what was going on. Now, friendships are extremely important. An intimate, loving, loyal, devoted friend is a tremendous asset.

They likewise have great impact upon our life as we take you through those seven words. And so I want you to think about that and your choice of friends. Now, likewise, friendships can be extremely rewarding. Well, you say, well, how am I rewarded in a friendship?

Well, I think there are lots of ways. And first of all, if you have a good friendship with someone, you feel accepted by them. All of us want to feel accepted. All of us feel the need of being accepted, feel the need of being loved.

And so acceptance is part of a reward of developing a good friendship. Secondly, there is the whole sense of love. If you have a good fellowship with someone, a good relationship and a good friendship, you feel love with that person. Now, some people's love for you may be different kinds of love.

It may be the love of one man for another in a right way, a godly fashion. You just love the guy. He just loves you because you have so many things in common. You know how to talk to each other. You know how to relate to one another.

And so you sense their love, which is always extremely encouraging. And then certainly one of the rewards of building a wise friendships is change. And that is when you and I develop a relationship with someone, a real genuine friendship, we change. We're challenged by them.

They're challenged by us. And so what happens? Change takes place. Good change takes place.

That's why he says bad company corrupts good morals, but when you have good company, it strengthens the morals. It strengthens your fiber internally. It strengthens your convictions. It strengthens your love and devotion for Jesus and for others and what He wants you to do in your life. Also, one of the rewards of a good relationship is intimacy.

And here's what happens. Casual friends can be up here on the surface, but intimacy is that degree of friendship that reaches its deepest level. That's the kind of friendship we have very few of. Intimate, listen, an intimate friendship where you can say anything you want to say to the other person without fear of judgment or condemnation or criticism or surprise.

I couldn't believe such a thing of you. If you have the right kind of friendship, they're not going to ever say that because you know why? They've already learned you're imperfect. And so they're not disappointed. They're not hurt. They're not shamed. They're not going to walk away.

They're not going to look surprised. They're going to say, well, you know, we all go through those things in life. And so I understand where you are. We're going to pray through this. I'm going to walk with you through this.

We're going to get through this and we're going to come out on the other side and you're going to be fantastic in it all. That's the kind of reward that comes as a result of having that intimacy. And then there's fruitfulness. That is when a person develops real godly, wise friendships, something happens to their life. They begin to be more productive. They begin to be more fruitful.

Why? Because they become highly motivated, stimulated, energized. Something goes on. They have more energy, more excitement, more thrill about their life. They're excited about life. They're happy about life. In other words, something is going on in that person's life that's absolutely phenomenal. They know that this change that's going on, this intimacy that's developing, all of this is doing what? Causing them to be more productive, more fruitful in their life, more enjoyable, easier to get along with.

Everything about that person is changing. Then there is a sense of security. One of the rewards of true, genuine, loving, loyal, devoted friendships is security. Because all of us are going to go through difficult times in our life. And when we do, one thing we need when the storm comes, we need those people who will stand with us, who will stand around us, who will stand in front of us when the criticism and all the rest comes.

Those kind of friends who know we're imperfect, but they're friends, genuine friends. There's something very securing about having an intimate relationship with one or more people whom you know you can depend on no matter what. You may be absolutely dead wrong, and they're not going to tell you that you're right, but they're going to say, you know what, I don't agree with that. I don't think it's a good idea, but I'm going to go with you no matter what. There's nothing anymore reassuring in life other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and to have a godly friend who says, I'm going to stand by you. I'm going to pray for you. I'm going to trust the best for you.

And I'm going to help you every way you possibly need help to become the person God wants you to be and to help you walk through this circumstance, this situation in your life. Do you have any friends like that? You see, one of the rewards of real genuine friendship is a sense of security in a time of storm. Then there is spiritual growth. When you and I develop wise friendships, here's what's going to happen. We're going to talk about our mutual interest. Well, when two believers get together, what's our mutual interest? Our mutual interest is the things of God, and that is who our Lord is and how He operates in our life and how He answers prayer, how He works in our life, how He sends us and sifts us and prunes us and sculptures us and how He designs our life and how He deepens us and how He uses pain and hurt and sorrow and difficulty and trial and tribulation, how He takes these things to mold us and make us the godly persons He wants us to be. What happens in a friendship is that we are able to grow spiritually because having developed that intimacy, we can share our heart.

We can say, here's what's going on. I don't understand what God's doing in my life. And oftentimes He will help the other person and He will give them an insight in your life to help you understand what you're feeling and why you're feeling and what's going on in your life. So there are very, very rich rewards in developing wise relationships, wise friendships.

And I want to repeat it. One of the greatest assets you and I have in our life are those devoted, loyal, loving, listen, godly friendships that God has placed in our life and that we've cultivated and that we've reached out to. And God has developed that in their lives and in our life together. Thank you for listening to Building Wise Friendships. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-03 16:30:31 / 2022-12-03 16:38:44 / 8

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