BY: GIOVANNA GOMEZ
BIBLE TEXT: Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
“I have the same friends and the same bad habits.” - Nate Silver
“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.” –Dan Buettner
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” -Unknown
Through my job I have the privilege to partner with men and women who are overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. I love happy endings and I love watching people kick addiction out of their lives. Not every story is a success, however. Unfortunately, at the point when a person is making the biggest breakthrough they’re simultaneously at their most vulnerable state, and all it takes is one seemingly insignificant encounter with the wrong person to erase months of progress and positive choices. In fact, in my experience, the number one reason a person in recovery relapses is due to a bad friendship or relationship.
There is also the inverse. I’ve noticed that folks who are successful with fitness hang out with those who also exercise. It’s synergy. People seem to attract others with like qualities — for better or for worse – and we are influenced greatly by those around us whether we want to admit it or not. As believers, we often talk about getting rid of sin in our lives, but we don’t realize the power of relationships and we don’t examine how much our lifestyle is based on the effect others have on our lives. The truth is that the majority of the time the devil didn’t “make you do it.” Your friends did it and you followed along.
Check it out…
Judas Iscariot: His decision to betray Christ was influenced by the political agenda of others. He was pawn, but he was too blind to realize it and paid dearly for it
The Twelve Spies: They were sent out by Moses to spy out Canaan and all except two came back whining. What was wrong with these men? Was it something they ate? Their bad attitude was a poison and they infected each other with it.
Amnon, Son of King David: Read 2 Samuel 13. What a yucky and terrible story. Amnon was supposedly in love with his sister and his good buddy, Jonadab, gave him “feel good advice” which led him to destruction. With a friend like that who needs enemies?
What is your biggest struggle? If you have prayed, repented, prayed and repented again only to struggle with the same junk time and again, let me suggest that you take a good look at the people who are surrounding your life. Could they be contributing to your struggle? Maybe you are tired of gossip and drama but your people can’t get enough of it and it’s wearing you down. Maybe you want to stop drinking but your friends can’t seem to have fun unless there is drinking involved. Perhaps you are trying to be a more truthful person but the people around you do not value integrity and they lie and cheat without remorse.
Yes, by all means stop sinning, but consider that they key may lie in your relationships. Maybe you need a friend makeover.
PRAYER: Father God, I do not want anything to stand in between You and I. Open my eyes so I can see Your truth. If it means discontinuing relationships that are harmful to me, I pray you give me the discernment and the courage to follow through. Holy Spirit, come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Giovanna has been blissfully married to Hubert for almost 27 years. They are parents to Andrew, who is married to Evelyn, and to Rachel who is a senior at the University of Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. They have been partners with Life Assembly since 2005. Giovanna is a social worker – a profession she loves. She enjoys hiking, gardening, laughter, and eating tasty food at restaurants with friends.