I have an ultra-healthy friend. Everything she eats is nutritious (well, almost everything). She has super healthy habits, and she exercises hard all the time! I certainly admire her discipline, but I’m not sure I could ever be like her. However, something happens after I spend quality time with this friend. While I don’t instantly want to consume every vegetable and run the next marathon, I do start picking up on some of her habits. I find myself appreciating new wholesome foods, I start thinking about how to squeeze in more exercise, and I become motivated to be more disciplined.
If you value being healthy, you need one of these friends.
But time with my ultra healthy friend got me thinking about spiritual health — and the importance of spiritually healthy friends. Friends who are strong in their faith. Friends who run hard after Jesus. Friends who love God’s word and passionately want to obey it. Friends who practice godly disciplines and serve the Lord. Similar to the influence I previously described, when we hang out with these kinds of friends, we start appreciating their (spiritually) wholesome habits, we start evaluating how we can follow their example, and we leave motivated to be more disciplined — just by spending time with them.
What Do You Really Want?
Sometimes we don’t run after spiritually fit friends for the very reason we should pursue them. We don’t want to be challenged, we don’t want to be disciplined, and we don’t want to work harder. But think in terms of my earlier example: I don’t go into my time with my physically fit friend thinking I want to start eating healthier and working out more. Nevertheless, I am drawn to become more like her because I value health and she reminds me it’s worth the effort. Furthermore, she makes healthy living attractive, and she makes it seem doable.
Initially, you may not desire friends who challenge you spiritually; however, as a Christian, a godly lifestyle will appeal to you. Godly friends are going to make holiness attractive. They will show you it’s doable. And as you spend time with these good friends, you will begin to pick up on their patterns and habits. You will start “squeezing in” more godliness. Like the Proverbs say,
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. – Proverbs 13:20
Therefore, If you want to be wise, if you want to be godly, if you want to care about what will matter for eternity — find wise, godly, and heaven-minded friends.If you want to be spiritually fit, you need spiritually fit friends! Click To Tweet
Think Outside Your Bubble
If your social circle doesn’t provide a friend that will push you in spiritual matters, you probably need to get creative. It’s possible the ladies in your area, in your small group, with the same interests, who have kids the same age as yours, aren’t the right ladies for the job. You may need to seek out someone you wouldn’t typically seek out.
Start by praying. Ask God to help you find a friend that will challenge you. Ask God to give you eyes to see past less important characteristics, to find someone faithfully living for the Lord.
Do I want to be physically healthy? Yes. Is it good to have a healthy friend to encourage me? Sure.
Do I want to be spiritually healthy? YES! Is it good to have a godly friend to encourage me? No, it is not good…it is vital!
It’s one thing for friends to influence each other’s lifestyles and interests (and we can all learn a lot from each other!). But it is crucial we have friendships that point us back to Jesus. We need friends who make us want to get in our Bibles, and obey our King. We need friends who push us to do what’s right, to be selfless, and to fight sin. We need friends that push us towards the kind of healthy that matters for eternity!