In her excellent book Discipline: The Glad Surrender (Revelll, 1982), the great, late Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed by an indigenous tribe in Ecuador, and author and speaker) offers a terrific, and sweet, example of the kind of worry-free trust in God and his provision that should mark us:
“Things are given by God. We can trust Him to give to us. My little dog, MacDuff, taught me many lessons. How simple life was for him! He trusted me. He lived his life one day at a time, wearing his one ragged black coat, provided by a heavenly Father, appropriate to all occasions, all year round. Supper was there in the dish – Ken L. Ration, Gainesburgers, table scraps, whatever. No decision about the menu troubled him. He owned a house and a tremendous yard and quite a few squirrels and rabbits that he felt responsible to chase and bark at, but he had no taxes or mortgage payments. Everything was taken care of. What he did naturally is a hard lesson we human beings have to work at” (116).
You know that old adage, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who are”? It’s true. In fact, it’s biblical. We imitate our friends, for good and bad; so who are your friends, and do they help you grow in those things that are most important?
If you’re a Christian, this means that it would be wise and beneficial for your walk with God to have other believers as your close friends. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be friends with others who believe differently from us, but that in our social life, other Christians, and members of your church in particular, should be prominent.
In his brief and excellent Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus (Crossway, 2012), Jonathan Leeman shows how this works – the ways in which our friends influence us. After reading this, ask yourself: who are my close friends, and how do they influence me?
“Churches should be more than social clubs, but they shouldn’t be less. Our friends are the ones we imitate and follow. We spend money where they spend money. We raise our children like they raise their children. We pray like they pray. Our friends form who we become as we imitate one another (see James 4:4; also 1 Cor. 15:33)” (97-98).