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Who Do You Hang With?
by Annagail Lynes 
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Are you building wise friendships? One of the building blocks of having a successful school year is making friends. But if you make the wrong kind of friends, they could distract you from the real focus of school, which is to learn. They might offer you drugs, alcohol or convince you to ditch class to hang out with them. They may pressure to do things that you are not ready to do, saying things like "You are the only one who hasn't..." or "Everyone's doing..." Going along with crowd, or doing what everyone else is doing, may leave you pregnant, with a sexually transmitted disease, in jail or even dead.

Who Are The Right Kind Of Friends?

I Corinthians 15:33 (TEV) gives this advice: "Do not be fooled. 'Bad companions ruin good character.'" This Scripture makes it clear that caution should be used when choosing friends.

Now What Qualifies Should These Friends Possess?

How did Jesus treat His friends?

* He Was Loyal.Even after Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times, Jesus stood by Peter. When Jesus met Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that He had risen. He mentioned Peter by name. Thomas wouldn't believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he touched the nail prints in Jesus' hands and the wounds in His side. Jesus made a special trip to see Thomas so he could do just that. If Peter and Thomas were our friends, a lot of us would have written them off.

* He Was Genuine. Never did Jesus mislead His disciples about who He was. In fact, He asked Peter who do they say that He is. When Peter replied "You are the Christ," Jesus told him, "Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven." Clearly, He was not denying who He was.

* He Provided Constructive Criticism. Right after he made that wonderful declaration that Jesus is the Christ, our boy Peter made a mistake. Jesus was telling His disciples how He had to died, but Peter would have none of that. He told Jesus that it would never happen. So Jesus rebuked Peter. If you know someone is doing something wrong, you must confront them, or at least tell someone what is going on. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to sit by and do nothing.

* He Gave Them Good Advice. When Jesus was sending the disciples out, He told them that if people couldn't accept them in one town, that they should shake the dust off their feet and move on. He taught them principles that would get them through life—do unto others as you would like them to do until you, what you sow, you will also reap, etc.

* He Didn't Pressure Them To Do Anything Bad. Being without sin. He wouldn't corrupt them in anyway. He could only teach them to do what is right. He gave them the best kind of peer pressure—the pressure to do the right thing.

* He Gave Of Himself To Help Them. When Peter's mother-in-law lay sick of a fever, who came to help her? When Peter was drowning, who saved him? When the five thousand needed to be feed, who feed them? Jesus—that's who! Whenever someone needed help, Jesus was there, ready and willing to help.

* He Shared Their Faith In God. Granted, Jesus is the Son Of God, He still shared their faith in One Truth God. He always talked about the things of God, showing them a godly example for them to follow...and us as well.

How Do You Make Those Type Of Friends?

1. Chose Friends Deliberately. Think of all the Christians you know who are not your close friend. Narrow these down to one who you believe shares similar interests as yours. Approach this person first. Try to think of people in your youth group, your church, school, after-school activities, etc.

2. Start A Conversation With Her/Him. Even if the conversation is only a minute or two long. You can ask her how her weekend was, what kind of music she enjoys, how she did on the last test and do on. Or you could comment about her hair, her penmanship, her clothes, etc. Just as you don't like to be bombarded with personal questions by a stranger, give her that same consideration.

3. Take Jesus' Advice. If she doesn't want to be friends, dust the dirt off your feet and move on. Take every opportunity to talk to people. You can start by asking the people who take your orders at restaurants and stores how they are doing. It might just brighten their day. What about the girl who eats alone at lunch? Just because everyone else shuns her that doesn't mean she is a bad person. You might just find the best friend you were looking for.

4. Join Clubs And Activities. What are your talents and abilities? Can you play basketball, join your school's team. Can you sing? Join the choir. Do you have organizational skills? Join Students Against Drunk Driving, the Key Club or many other worthwhile clubs. Getting involved with activities outside of school will make you feel good and make friends at the same time.

Remember the advice in Proverbs 18:24 gives us: if you want friends, you must show yourself friendly. Sow friendship and you will reap friendship. Show yourself friendly to someone today!

I am not in the Private Messenger. Please contact me at christianconnectionzine-owner@yahoogroups.com

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