As I’m about to finish my freshman year of college, I reflect on a year that has been full of triumphant ups, and devastating downs. I reflect on a year that has shaped me, challenged me, pushed me farther than I thought I could stand, made me question everything, and reaffirmed the most important things in my life. And I wouldn’t change a second of it.
I love EKU, I love Richmond, I love my major, and I love my classes and professors. But probably the best part of this year has been the new friends I have made. You have made me laugh, been there when I needed to cry, spent time with me when I didn’t want to be alone, and shown me how many good people are still left in the world.
The book of Proverbs tells us that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Back in high school, we were forced to be around the same 100 people every day of our lives. But on a college campus of 17,000 students, we have far more choice as to who we spend time with. That issues us as believers two challenges:
First, are you spending time with the kind of people you want to be? This doesn’t mean that every single person in your social group must be a believer. It’s great to have friends with different beliefs. But even then, are your unbelieving friends making you better, or dragging you down? Do they drive you to be kinder, more compassionate, work harder, and be an overall better version of yourself? Do they accept you for the person you choose to be?
In addition to these friends, do you also have a group of Christian friends who will hold you accountable, disciple you, and love you as Jesus would? Do you have people in your life that will pray for you, and listen to your struggles without judgment?
The second challenge is a bit more personal: are you being this kind of friend? Do you draw your friends, Christian and non, closer to Christ or farther away from Him? Do you listen more than you speak? Do you build up more than you tear down?
Author Brennan Manning once said that there are no neutral exchanges; either we give life to those around us, or we drain life. Strive to be the kind of friend that is life-giving and not life-draining. Give thought to how you are sharpening others and to who is sharpening you.
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