"A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." (Proverbs 12:26)

It is very important to know who are the ones who will act as a voice of influence in life. If we allow the wrong people to become the person who has a marked influence, we can head into a downward spiral.

I've seen many who have put the wrong people in that place. One example was a person who would identify himself with a certain group that had unreasonably strict values and exalted expectations. This person could never live up to those expectations and values and yet still allowed the group to influence his/her life. This group would see his/her disadvantage and demean his self-worth and confidence when he/she didn't make the mark. The person would always struggle with self-pity, low self-esteem and constant feelings of defeat. This pattern continued as so long as he/she would identify with this group. As a result he/she lived the defeated life as so long as they allowed this group to influence them.

What this person needed was be to find people who would edify or build him/her. These are people who are marked by genuine love, encouragement and a raw sincerity to bring out the best in the person. They'd show a deep level of acceptance for who the person is as a child of God. They would see the goodness and greatness in the person and move him/her in that gifting. They would temper his/her areas of weaknesses by offering constructive criticism in fully communicating God's faith in their ability to overcome or strengthen those areas. If they are really discerning they will be able to spot God's power in those weaknesses and even allow him/her to see it as well.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
(2 Corinthians 12:5)

I love to be around these kinds of people. They are the Barnabas which means Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36-37). These are the people who have not chip on their shoulder. They have no pride or need for the praise of people to inflate their egos. They are marked by wanting to build up and encourage and put others ahead and even above themselves. They are fully secure in themselves and the proof is in how they seek to give out compliments rather than receive them.

"Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:36-37)

Mr. Bilson