WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 19, 2021
TOPIC: CHOOSE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS CAREFULLY
BY T. O. BANSO
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 New King James Version).
One path to failure and destruction in life is to be in wrong relationships. These include marriage relationships and the friends you keep. As the saying goes, “Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” Perhaps, a truer statement is, “Show me your friends, and I will tell you what you will become.” Relationships are vital to greatness in life. Who you walk with influences what you become.
Whether you’re a pastor, businessman, student, or any other thing, avoid wrong relationships. If you want to succeed in life, you must avoid or quit wrong relationships, including courtship, friendship, and partnership. Many lives are going downward spiral because of wrong relationships. Many destinies are trapped in marriages they shouldn’t have gone into. May the Lord have mercy on such people.
Nobody comes into your life and leaves you the same. He either adds to you or removes from you, lifts you up or pulls you down, encourages you or discourages you, and so on. No matter the potential you have, a wrong company will only help you to amount to nothing.
Someone has rightly said that it is better to stand alone than to be in the wrong company. I agree completely. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 New King James Version). Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend” (New Living Translation). How can you be sharpened by a friend who is blunt – dull? You’ll soon become like him.
According to Ecclesiastes 10:10, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success” (New King James Version). Wisdom dictates that if you’re serious about learning something, you go to someone who knows more than you. You don’t go to someone who is ignorant about what you want to learn or someone you know more than. If you associate with those who are not heading for a future similar to what you desire for yourself, they’ll help you to get to where they’re going.
Rev. Hugh Black (March 26, 1868 – April 6, 1953), Scottish-American theologian and author, said, “Friends should be chosen by a higher principle of selection than any worldly one. They should be chosen for character, for goodness, for truth and trustworthiness, because they have sympathy with us in our best thoughts and holiest aspirations, because they have community of mind in the things of the soul.”
A wise person chooses his friends carefully. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 New King James Version). Because relationships are vital to greatness in life, the righteous don’t go into a relationship with just anyone. God warned Judah not to join Israel in her idolatry, but to leave her to face the consequences of her rebellion (Hosea 4:15-19).
Your future is going to be determined, a great deal, by the type of people you are in relationships with. If your friends and associates are wrong, your life and future will be wrong, no matter what appears to the contrary now. Someone said a friend is a present you give yourself! Give yourself a good present.
The Bible says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20 New Living Translation). Another version says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (New King James Version). Your future can’t be brighter than the quality of relationships you have. Those who are in wrong relationships in form of friends, advisers, mentors, and role models will ruin their lives.
Amnon, David’s oldest son, had an evil person, a crafty man, Jonadab, as his adviser. Jonadab was the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab taught Amnon how to perfect his lust towards his half-sister, Tamar. He taught him how to rape Tamar. A God-fearing friend would have silenced Amnon, and killed his lust for his half-sister, but Jonadab was his counselor (2 Samuel 13:1-6). That led to his premature and violent death.
Amnon raped Tamar, but two years later, he reaped what he had sown. Absalom, Tamar’s brother, plotted and killed him (verses 23-29). The family was no longer the same after the rape and the revenge by Absalom. Who is your friend? Who are your counselors? Quit wrong relationships or avoid going into wrong relationships.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16a warns, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?” (New Living Translation).
Dinah would not have been defiled by Shechem if she had not gone to see the daughters of the land. It was her desire for a relationship that put her in that trouble. Remember, Dinah’s mother, Leah, was not loved by Dinah’s father, Jacob. Probably this negatively affected her self-esteem and she looked outside for friendship, but in the wrong place (Genesis 29:31-33).
As necessary as relationships are, it is better to stand alone, than to be in a wrong relationship. “Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her” (Genesis 34:1-2 New King James Version).
Don’t open up your life to just anybody. You need only quality relationships. Prayerfully let God lead you into relationships that will impact positively your destiny. Avoid going into relationships that will leave you empty. Many today are in that condition but are yet to realize it just like Israel didn’t (Hosea 7:8-9).
Young people, in particular, should be careful in the choice of their marriage partners. The choice they may make will significantly affect the fulfilment of their destinies. Charles Spurgeon warned, “How careful ought young people to be in the choosing of their partners in life! When two horses pull together how smoothly the chariot runs; but if one horse draws one way and the other pulls in the opposite direction, what trouble there is sure to be.” Pay attention to this counsel and save yourself regrets in the future.
Cultivate the right relationships from today. Not everybody can be your friends, and that does not mean they’re your enemies. You may be a pastor, student, housewife, businessman, but not every colleague can be your friend. Consider your destiny. Choose your relationships carefully. Be guided by the Word and the Holy Spirit.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of every wrong relationship I am in and quit such today. Holy Spirit, help me to choose my relationships wisely as from today. Father, order my steps into the right relationships that will help me to fulfil my destiny and ministry.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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