It’s Thanksgiving week and this year I plan to spend it in Denver with my daughter. I am so thankful for her and for the close friendship we have and for this opportunity to spend a week with her in her world . . . and also spend a little time with a couple of the friends I made when I lived there.
Friends. They’re so important. They’re such a blessing.
It depends on who your friends are.
And more importantly, it depends on where your friends take you.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
And John Kuebler said, “You show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
The people we choose to spend time with have an effect on our life. And the more time we spend with them, the more effect they have on us.
And when we’re hurting and fearful and ‘paralyzed’ by life’s circumstances, it is extremely important to choose the right friends to come around us.
Some friends will join you in your pain and stay there. Some will even help you throw a pity party. Some will take you to the local bar to drown your sorrows. Or to the mall for some retail therapy.
But those aren’t the friends you need. You need friends like the ones in today’s verse.
Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” – Matthew 9:2 (NIV)
The man in today’s verse is paralyzed by illness. He’s stuck on his mat. And the friends that surround him are a blessing because they don’t get down on the mat with him and join him in his paralysis. They don’t look at him and whisper to each other, “Guys, this is hopeless.” They don’t say to him, “I’m praying for you, my friend. Let me know what I can do.”
No, these friends pick him up and take him where he needs to go. They don’t give up on him. They don’t just help him cope with his current condition.
These friends see what he can be. They understand his potential. They believe for the best for him.
They have faith that Jesus is the answer to whatever his problem is.
And they do something about it.
They take him to Jesus.
If your friends can’t see your potential, they will accept your current circumstances as final.
If your friends aren’t convinced God has bigger plans for you than what’s in your life right now, they’ll just try to help you cope.
And if your friends don’t know Jesus, they will do for you what they do for themselves . . . deal with the pain however they can.
Let’s face it. There may be times in life when you’ll be ‘paralyzed’ – at least for a while – by what life throws at you.
But if you have friends who know Jesus and who see your potential and have faith that God has even bigger plans for you than your current circumstances, then they won’t let you remain ‘paralyzed’ on your mat. They will come and remind you who you are and what you are meant to be doing and of all the great plans God has for you.
And then they’ll take you to Jesus. In prayer. In faith. In power.
And THEIR FAITH IN GOD FOR YOU will change your life.
That’s why surrounding yourself with the right friends is critical if you want to experience God’s best for your life.
Who are you allowing to surround you on your mat? What words are they speaking over you? Where are they taking you?
What kind of friend are you? Are you enabling someone to just cope with their circumstances? Or are you carrying them to Jesus . . . believing He has greater plans for them?