A man chooses his friends carefully, a boy does not.
“The righteous chooses his friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” ~Proverbs 12:26
“Whoever walks with the wise grows wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” ~Proverbs 13:20
“When you surround yourself with the wrong people it’s going to backfire every time.” ~ A premiere college athlete who destroyed his athletic career through poor choices in friends
“If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” ~ modern proverb
“Bad company ruins good character.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33
The most important decision you are going to make in the next few years is your choice of friends.
A boy is careless about his choice of friends, and will often run with a group of friends who will get him into trouble. In fact, the quickest way for you to get in trouble and get off in the weeds is to hang with the wrong crowd.
There are a lot of things worse than spending Friday night at home with your parents, and one of them is rolling with a group of guys who will take you places you do not want to go.
In contrast, a man picks his friends very carefully, and only runs with those who are making good life decisions and moving in the same direction he wants to go.
Solomon says, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26, NIV)
I can’t tell you how many guys out there are basically good guys, but got hooked up with the wrong circle of friends, and got pulled into stuff that left them either in big trouble or going nowhere in life.
Here’s what I have to say about some of the key friends in his life:
“My best friend in high school, Wayne, shared my faith and values, and we shared some of the same interests. For instance, we played high school basketball together. We enjoyed a terrific friendship, made good choices, had fun, and stayed out of trouble.
“When I got to college at Stanford, I tried out for the freshman basketball team as a walk-on. I got cut, which was no surprise to people who had seen me play, but before I got cut, one day at practice I met a guy named Bruce, who became my best friend through college and beyond. He played high school basketball, by the way, with Bill Walton, who became a famous center at UCLA and then in the NBA.
“Anyway, Bruce and I struck up a fast friendship and hung out together. We soon got to know a man by the name of Paul, a guy who was a little bit older and was doing an internship at Peninsula Bible Church. He’d been assigned to the Stanford campus.
“Paul began meeting three days a week in the morning with Bruce and me for Bible study, discipleship and prayer. This went on for both our freshman and sophomore years. Those two years were probably the most important years of my life in terms of locking down the spiritual and moral values that would guide me for the rest of my life. Bruce and I stayed in contact with each other long past our shared college experience. In fact, he was the best man at my wedding.
“And Paul performed the wedding ceremony for me and my bride. Friends matter.”
Solomon says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24).
Look for a friend like that, pray for a friend like that, and don’t rest until you find a friend like that.
And perhaps most importantly, be a friend like that. You’ll never regret it.
An NFL star once said his message to young athletes is this: “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” For a bright future tomorrow, pick good friends today.
Father, I pray that you will bring good, godly friends into my son’s life who will help him and encourage him as he grows to maturity. And I pray that you will make him a friend like that to others. By your grace, may he know the blessing of close, godly masculine friendship in the years to come. In Jesus’ name, amen.