The Choices We Make

 In Tori Smith

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the influence friends have on our lives. Having been charged with the raising of these two children, causes me to think about things differently.
I don’t remember any specific or conscious thoughts I had about choosing my friends. I recently asked my Mom how I chose my friends and asked did she ever worry about any of the friends I chose. She said she never did. But then….that was a different world on a different planet. In our home, for instance, there was one phone plugged into a wall and you were “tethered” to the phone by the receiver cord. Our phone was in the living room where everyone could hear your side of the conversation. And, in my home at least, there was a time limit for using the phone. If we went over 15 minutes, we were in trouble and grounded from phone privileges for weeks. I remember exceeding the time limit once and not being allowed to use the phone for the rest of the summer. Of course, I may have over-stepped that 15 minute limit by a little bit (or a LOT ?).
We didn’t have computers or smart phones….or even dumb phones. All we had was that simple tethered house phone. I hear some of you gasping, but it’s true. Difficult to believe we humans were able to survive without a computer, cell phone, snap chat, Instagram, or Facebook! So friendships in my youth were very different and perhaps simpler than friendships today. One thing, however, is still true. Our friendships influence the way we think and behave and, ultimately, contribute to the outcome and/or consequences.
With a 16, almost 17-year-old, and an 11, almost 12 year old, living in the house, friendships are a big concern. Consequently, it’s made me think about what the scriptures have to say about friendships. Scripture has quite a bit to say! Just consider these 3 verses from the Proverbs:

1. Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

2.  Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

3. Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.

Like most things in life we must choose between the things of God and the things of this world. And while I am writing this thinking of the kids in my household, I recognize the same applies to all of us. Christ’s death on the cross gives us choices. Before Christ we had no choice other than to sin and fall away from God’s righteousness. But with Christ we are given a choice. Will we choose God’s way, or will we reject him and go our own selfish sinful ways in life?

We are given that choice in every area of our life….

Will we choose to know God’s Word or to watch one more episode of Blue Bloods (or another TV preference).

Will we choose to be a person of forgiveness or allow bitterness and unforgiveness to take hold of our lives?

Will we look to represent Christ in every situation where we find ourselves, or will we allow our selfish desires to determine our attitudes?

Will we choose Godly friends who bless our lives with God and one another, or will we choose friends who lead us into ruin and end up creating a barrier to our lives with God?

These are not just questions to be asking of our youth – they are questions for us at every juncture of life.

Christian choices will build us up and bring us wisdom. Un-Christian choices lead us into sin and encourage ungodly traits.

As I continue to monitor and care how the children choose their friends, I also consider other choices we all must make in our lives. While we all will make bad choices from time to time, we need to remind ourselves that it is important to hold onto the Cross and accept the power that we have been given in Christ to choose God at every turn.

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