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How to Recognize a Healthy Support Group
When our kids were accepted into a private Christian school, it meant leaving friends and stepping into not only a new academic environment but also a social one. Our son recently talked about his first week of school and how it had landed him in the principal’s office – not once, but 3 times. The words she spoke to him not only resonated in his young mind but have impacted him into his adult years. In essence she said, “Even if you didn’t commit the wrongdoing, you’re guilty by association. As a new student you have a choice. Pick your friends wisely”.
This principal had the foresight to see something in our son that he didn’t see in himself. We need others in our lives to help keep us not only from wrongdoing but also to help us push beyond the limitations of our past or the complacency of our potential.
In Psalm 1 God gives us insight into the result of choosing those we hang out with foresight. He gives us direction towards living a blessed life by addressing 3 scenarios, all which pertain to the opposite – poor relationships. What are those 3?
1. What counsel do you lend your ear to in your life right now?
We have no lack of voices counselling us on how to eat, exercise, spend our money, invest our money, how to act or react. God calls us blessed when we are aware of the counsel of the ungodly in our day to day lives and choose to filter it through his Word rather than through the narratives of the day.
2. What voices cause you to stop what you’re doing and listen long enough to ponder?
Proverbs 14:12 says, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man but in its end is the way of death’. The definition of ‘way’ is the direction, habit, or course of life you choose, which will lead to the people you want to spend your spare time with. This includes both in person and online groups that would be considered ‘friends’. When our delight is in the direction of the new life that Jesus has provided for us, we are eager to hear from those of like faith who help us to be doers of the Word.
3. How does the company of those you do life with, change your viewpoints?
If we sit in the seat of the scornful, we have embraced their viewpoints. We mock what they mock. Critique what they critique. The value system of this support group has become your own and you also find it easy to mock righteousness.
On the other hand, the blessed life gives you unlimited opportunities to be rooted and planted. Here are 3 benefits of walking, standing, and sitting with family and friends who seek to honor God in their lives:
- Receive and Give Support. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that life will have times of sorrow, celebration, planting, uprooting and even dancing! In other words, change is inevitable. Choosing to plant both our thoughts and relationships by the refreshing living water of the Holy Spirit allows us to stand with one another in His strength.
- Wise Counsel. Healthy friendships are built on trust. Proverbs 3:5-6 says ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. There may be acquaintances who can see things you can’t see, and be quick to give their advice, but it’s a blessing to have trusted friends who give godly counsel.
- Joy. Just as there is a wake in the water behind a boat, there is a wake of blessing following times of refreshing with godly friends. Life is lighter, opportunities seem more attainable, and faith is stirred to keep hope alive!
I encourage you to take inventory of the 10 to 12 closest people, podcasts or influencers you lend your ear to and ask the Holy Spirit if changes need to be made, so you, as promised in Psalm 1, can live in fruitful seasons that bless both yourself and others. If they draw you closer to righteousness let them know you’re thankful for them. They are contributors to the blessing of God on your life!