My father-in-law is a man who speaks the truth in punchy phrases. One day we were observing how a local lad had befriended tough guys from a nearby city, had run-ins with the law, and found himself in jail. My wife’s dad quipped, “Well, as the old saying goes, ‘If you fly with the crows, you’ll get shot with the crows.’”

Jesus knew this principle: our friends shape our moral path. When he called his followers “friends,” he was acknowledging that their journey in him had matured and that they knew his Father’s business. Jesus believed that iron sharpens iron, we are our brothers’ keeper, and meeting together builds faith.

Joan Chittister explains: “It is not a passive exercise, this thing we call friendship. To have a friend is to have the duty to be one. If friendship is gone about properly, seen as a position of trust, lived in the hope of fullness of soul, and practiced as both pledge and possibility, it is an enterprise of personal development that runs the risk of changing both ourselves and our friend. It says, ‘I will nourish your dreams and prod all the potential that is in you.’ I will, in other words, nourish your life as my own” (The Friendship of Women, p. 23).

Friendship with godly people nurtures holy bonds. With whom do you fly? Whom do you invite to fly with you?

Dear God, thank you for the example of Jesus, who promoted your ways with his closest followers, who knew that friendship requires openness, accountability, and effort. May I choose a similar path with my friends, and they with me, as we take up the duty to shape each other unto your glory. Amen.

Go Deeper — How intentional are you to lean into friends and prod them to become more like Jesus? Do they do the same for you?

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