One of our strongest influences is our friends. The friends we choose will help us draw closer to God or go farther away from Him. There are good examples like Cornelius in Acts 10 who invited his friends to hear the gospel. There are bad examples like the friends of Rehoboam, in 2 Chronicles 10, who gave Rehoboam bad advice which cost him most of the kingdom.
Proverbs 12:26 and 22:24-25 warns us to choose our friends carefully since the wicked can lead us astray. Most people are familiar with 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” When our closest friends are people who do not share our faith, priorities, and principles, we create the potential for many conflicts and unnecessary tests of our faith.
We should not abandon friendships with non-Christians, but should make our closest companions (who are in greater positions of influence) those who share our values and priorities. Some have lost their faith by associating with very worldly people thinking, “I will change them.” However, it is often the child of God who is changed, and usually for the worse. Paul prefaces his “evil companions” warning of 1 Corinthians 15:33 with “Do not be deceived.” It is easy for us to deceive ourselves and think that others cannot corrupt us.
Good friends can greatly strengthen us. Proverbs 27:17 teaches that good friends can improve one another as iron sharpening iron. We should choose our closest friends from the children of God. They understand the trials that we face, the importance of service to God, and the principles that guide our lives. By our mutual associations, we can encourage one another to do what is right, Hebrews 10:24-25.