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Choose your friends wisely

SETTING THE PACE / Living life with an eternal perspective

 I recently began thinking about people in my life with which I spend quality time. As a pastor, I am always with lots of different people, but there are a few that I have noticed  I  am  around  more consistently. As I reflected on those people and relationships, it made me look at why I enjoy being around them so much. You would think it is because we are of the same age bracket, life stage, personality, and have common interests, but that is not the case with all of them. Yes, there are a few that I am very much alike, but there are some that are very different than me.  

 As I began to evaluate my “inner circle” of friends, I realized that what made me close to these individuals was not common interests or personality, or even age or life stage. What makes  me  want to be around these people is their character. In light of that, I discovered three qualities that my closest friends possess that make we want to have deeper and more meaningful friendships.  

First, my closest friends enjoy talking about deeper things. Yes, we chit chat about life and have fun together, but there is a bond that causes us to talk more deeply. Men need other men in their life like this. For many guys, the extent of their friendships generally revolves around surface issues, and therefore they never experience the joy of true Christian brotherhood.  Deeper friendships are formed when you open  yourself up  and learn how to talk about the more important things of life. These men make me want to be a better Christian, husband, father, and all-around person, and for that, I am immensely grateful!

 Second, my closest friends have an eternal perspective. This might be the single most important quality I look for in people with which I want to  develop a deeper friendship.  Now,  throughout my life, there have been people I have spent time with that  often  have petty  issues  they want to address  from a temporal perspective.  Approaching life like this tends to make people negative and spending time  with such  people  is  draining.  Interestingly,  I discuss  both major and minor  issues with my closest friends all the time, but we discuss them with  an eternal perspective.  My  best friends  are positive, hopeful, joyful encouragers. Do not get me wrong, we differ at times and sometimes differ greatly, but what keeps us close is the foundation of our  friendship, which is a real relationship with Jesus  Christ,  causing  us to  think eternally. I love spending time with these men,  because I know they are seeing things with the bigger picture in mind.  This  is a true  blessing.

 There are other things I could mention, but the final thing is that my closest friends live in a world of reality, not theory. Who would you rather go to battle with: Someone who has read about war, or someone who has actually been to war? I want to be with the guy who has been to  war. There is nothing more frustrating to me than people who love to diagnose problems, but offer no solution to fix them. Anyone can identify an issue, but very few are willing to do whatever is necessary to fix it. I love being around problem-solvers. I love being around people who think outside the box and work creatively to accomplish a task. I often say that my favorite people in the world are those who are self-motivated. My closest friends do not need me to motivate them. When we get together, we motivate each other just by being together. Every time I leave, I am refreshed and encouraged. Those kinds of friendships are absolutely irreplaceable.

 Why did I share all this with you? Because we always need to be thinking about the kind of friend we are and the  deeper friendships  we want to develop. Be a good friend and  choose your  friends wisely. See you next week!

 Jeremy Freeman

www.pastorjfreeman.com

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