So—join the company of good men and women, keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths. It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land, the women with integrity who will last here. The corrupt will lose their lives; the dishonest will be gone for good.
Proverbs 2: 20-22 The Message
Solomon wrote his Book of Proverbs thousands of years ago, yet the wisdom found in this book is timeless, and priceless! Here, Solomon is talking about the importance of surrounding ourselves with good and solid friends.
True friends keep us on the tried-and-true paths. They affirm us when we make wise, helpful, loving, and kind choices. They cheer us on when we take such prudent steps. They are also honest with us and let us know when we are being impulsive, foolish, or even stupid! A strong friendship is a safe friendship.
I am convinced that part of the reason God invented the church was for the spiritual formation of her members. This happens as people listen to sermons, and sing both favorite hymns and praise songs of our faith. Those friendships which bond during worship continue on throughout their lives. Not only does this connection occur during Sunday worship, but often it occurs during informal conversations during the week. When we share our lives with one another for advice, for prayer, and for support, all of us are strengthened for our common journey.
Being part of a community helps people keep their lives straightened out: between God and brothers and sisters in Christ, we find support for remaining on the true path. It is easier to walk with integrity when we are surrounded by people who possess good values and integrity themselves.
The isolation of people as a result of the lockdown has been a hardship for many who need to be with friends to thrive, to grow, to fellowship and to walk in faith together. We all know that a Zoom call is just not the same as being there in person. The book of Proverbs encourages us to join the company of good men and women. I pray that we will soon be able to practice this gift which God wants us to give to us.
For perspective, Proverbs warns us about walking in the opposite direction, away from the light. Those who are corrupt or dishonest soon crash and burn. Earlier on in this chapter, the author described their journeys:
These losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity, Traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.
Proverbs 2: 14-15 The Message
These verses are crystal clear about the results of living such a lifestyle. None of us wants to follow their example!
Friendships among believers are to be nurtured, grown, and strengthened. It is never too late to form the foundation of lasting friendship with someone else. Seek opportunities to grow in Christ. Become that friend to someone else that you yourself need. Human friendships are so important, but Christ is our perfect friend. Fortunately, He is always there, just waiting for a conversation with us. Between our friendship with Christ, and with brothers and sisters in the Lord, we will stay on the tried-and-true path…
Thank You, Lord, for providing me with the wisdom and necessary capacity to form relationships. We are made for close relationships not only with You, but with other people. Help me to seek You as I walk the path that You desire for me to follow. May I offer words encouragement and kindness to others, always. Trusting only in You, I pray this prayer in Your Holy name. Amen.