Tribe is the latest and most popular word used now for friendships, community, group, posse – your circle of influence. Those that you choose to surround yourself with, your tribe, are the ones who most heavily influence you in every aspect. They influence your thoughts and speech; your actions and your desires. They shape you quicker and more deeply than you realize.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ ” 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
It is important that we, as those following Christ, surround ourselves with others who are devoted to wholesome living and will edify us in our daily lives.
So who are we looking for to be in our tribe? To be in our inner circle, influencing us?
“Blessed is the [wo]man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;” Psalm 1:1 ESV
First off, you are going to want those who are above reproach; those that are living godly lives.
“Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” Proverbs 26:4 NLT
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” 2 Timothy 2:23 NIV
They will be those who don’t argue for the sake of it. They don’t start friction and petty debates.
“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” Proverbs 16:28 NLT
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3 NIV
Not only do you not want those who start debates, you also don’t want someone who creates fights. Debates can remain somewhat civil, yet are still not healthy for any friendship, but fights will blow up, and can lead to bigger issues.
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13 NIV
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Proverbs 20:19 NIV
“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20 NIV
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.” James 4:11a NIV
In addition to not starting arguments, their words will be uplifting. They will not gossip or lie about you. They will be trustworthy.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
“And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24 ESV
You are going to want to surround yourself with those who will encourage you, to help facilitate the growth of fruit in your life. Why would you want to be close with someone who is only going to tear you down, beat you with negativity, and hurt you? How is that edifying? How is that healthy?
“Finally, brothers [and sisters], rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 NLT
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” 1 Peter 3:18 NLT
You will want to be close with those who strive to create harmony. These are the people who despise conflict and work to resolve the issues that can cause divisions. They will be those who are patient and willing to listen; to hear all sides of the story before jumping to conclusions.
“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse,” Proverbs 2:12 NIV
“The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” Proverbs 12:5-6 NLT
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 NLT
“The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.” Psalm 37:30 NLT
Their advice will be wholesome and godly. They will not encourage you to go opposite of the commands God has given us. They will advise you with wisdom and justice.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT
“One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” Proverbs 14:16 ESV
“to live wisely and be pure, … to do good, … Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:5 NLT
“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” Titus 2:12 ESV
Not only will they speak with wisdom, but they will live wisely. These are blatant commands from God’s Word. Living wisely brings honor to the LORD.
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” CS Lewis
I think we can all agree that friends are vital. We need those who live life with us, give us encouragement, challenge us, and to have a good time with. Loneliness was never God’s plan for us, but it’s a tool that Satan will use to draw you away from righteous living. Satan knows that when we are lonely, we will cling to the first person who shows us any attention and acceptance. He knows that is the best time to be sly to trip us up by “providing” what we “need,” just not with the right character and morals that is needed.
The people in our inner circle should have eyes fixed on Christ, with speech and lives that display this focus.
God does not want us to be surrounded by those who will pull us away from Him; that will keep us from living a godly life. There’s nothing wrong with being friends with non-believers as long as they are not drifting us from the life we should be living. However, God does advise us to draw close to those who will be encouraging, edifying, wise, patient, and kind, with hearts seeking after Him.
“You will never have a better friend than a friend who points you to Christ.” Alistair Begg
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 NIV
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV
So be wary of who you let in close – they influence you in deep ways.