Allow me to ask three simple questions that dramatically affect your life.
Who are your friends? Not the people you know at work or school and casually refer to as “friends”, but the people you are closest to. The ones you call when you have free time to hang out. The people on your speed dial. Who are they? Go ahead and name some names in your head.
What are they like? Are they funny? Are they serious? Are they energetic and active or mellow and analytic? Sports fans? Book readers? What fills your conversations? What kinds of things do you end up doing together? What are your friends like?
How do your friends affect your relationship with Christ? Have you ever thought about how your friendship with others affect your friendship with Jesus? Do they make you love Jesus more or less? Do they challenge and encourage you to grow as a Christian? Do you leave their presence with your eyes on Christ and your heart filled with His love? Do they call your attention toward Jesus or away from Him? Do they encourage you toward uncompromising obedience to Jesus or are they continually tempting/making you disobey Him? How do you friends affect your walk with Christ?
Don’t shrug these questions off. There are few people as influential to you as your friends. Choosing them can be the difference of life or death. To this end, J.C. Ryle offers some needed counsel:
I do advise you to be very careful in your choice of friends. Do not open all your heart to a person merely because he or she is clever, agreeable, good-natured, and kind. These things are all very good, but they are not everything. Never be satisfied with the friendship of any one who will not be useful to your soul…
Do you ask me what kind of friends you should choose? Choose friends who will be good for your soul, friends whom you can really respect, friends whom you want near you on your deathbed, friends who love the Bible, and are not afraid to speak to you about it, friends that you would not be ashamed of having at when Jesus comes back, and on the day of judgment. Follow the example that David sets for you: he says, “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your commands” (Psalm 119:63). Remember the words of Solomon: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20). But depend on it, having bad friends in this life is the sure way to get worse friends in the life to come. (Thoughts for Young Men).
The plain truth is: you will become who your friends are. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). So again, I ask you: Who are your friends? What are they like? How do they affect your relationship with Jesus?
P.S. One of the best messages on the topic of friendship has been made into another free and short booklet you can get (for free) here.