Friendships during youth can make or break several paths taken for our kids. Jessica reminds us how and why we need to encourage our kids toward godly friendships.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16
I remember standing on a chair and attempting to pull someone up onto the chair with me one night in youth group. Inevitably my strength was limited, and I ended up on the ground rather than pulling them up. The display represented trying to bring a friend with lower moral standards up to higher standards. Obviously it’s much simpler to be brought down than to pull someone else up.
Now as an adult, this object lesson breaks down a little because of God’s call to love the lost and Jesus’ example of spending time with tax collectors throughout his life. However, we can’t deny the importance of encouraging our kids to make their closest friends the ones committed to walking with Jesus.
There are several places throughout scripture outlining the reasons we should do so.
Here are a few:
- I can fulfill the call of God better when I yoke up to people who know God. This passage in 2 Corinthians isn’t suggesting we don’t know or love folks who don’t follow Christ. Instead, the command is to yoke ourselves with those who believe in Christ also. A yoke is a wooden bar joining two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. When a team is “unequally yoked” it means they have different strengths or heights than one another. Because the weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the other, the load would simply go in circles. The oxen would not perform their task if unequally yoked. Similarly, I cannot accomplish all God has set before me if I bind myself to someone not committing to the same relationship with God as I am. But when we do yoke up to someone who is sold out for the Lord, we can do mighty things with God!
- Bad company ruins good character – 1 Cor. 15:33. I’m pretty confident this was the scriptural source of my youth group illustration. If left to my own devices, history has proven I will fall into bad habits and make poor choices. When I surround myself with friends who have similar goals as me, they call me up to our common purpose. However, if my life is void of this type of community, I am inevitably prone to wander and choose foolishness.
- They will know we are Christians by our love – John 13:35. In this passage Jesus is speaking to the way believers love one another. What better reason to choose to deeply love our believing family than to reveal to the world just how God loves us (with patience, kindness, not envying, not being rude, not seeking our own good, not keeping a record of wrongs, etc. See 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)? This love is attractive. Those who don’t know the Lord will notice when we love each other well.
When we bind together with other believers our strength grows. With the help of two or three believing friends on the chair, we could pull a weaker brother up to where we stood. God intends for us to love one another and work together as His kids. Encourage your kids to find godly friends and yoke up to them. This is God’s design after all.
- Who is your very best friend? Do they have a relationship with Jesus?
- Are you and this friend working together to lead other friends to Jesus?
- Who could you pursue this week to be a new godly friend for you?