Who are the seven most influential people in your life?
Let me ask that question a bit differently. . .who are the seven most positive and influential people in your life. . .that you interact with on a daily basis?
Have you seriously thought about the kind of influence they’re exerting in your life? What do they add to your life. . .your goals. . .your dreams?
In June of 2011, I posted a “Friendship Evaluator” where I asked people answer truthfully about the seven people closest to them.
Here are the four questions I posed.
What does this person add to my life?
What's the greatest negative influence this person has on my life?
What's the last positive idea, scripture or thought this person shared with me?
Does this person motivate me to be all I can be in Him?
It might be time to ask those same questions again. In fact, I encourage you to create the list. . .even if you did it two and one-half years ago.
Now let me clarify something right now. I’m talking about the people you choose to be a part of your life.
I’m not talking about the boss, the workplace bully, the guy or gal who’s been assigned to your team and needs a lot of ‘help.” They all have their place but that’s a different teaching.
I’m talking the people who are your friends. Growing up we used to tell our children that real friendship is a mutually positive give and take where both people come out a winner.
However, in this teaching, I’m going to share with you the seven people you need in your life.
1. Paul, a mentor
Yes, you need someone who can speak wisdom into your life. . .someone who keeps you on the cutting edge. . .someone who has a depth of knowledge and understanding beyond your own.
In short, you need a Paul. . .someone who be an encourage, exhort and edify you. . .to be and to become what God intended you to be.
What are the qualifications of a mentor?
Someone who has been there. . .done that. . .knows what you need to do and what you should avoid.
2 Timothy 4:6-7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit’s] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.”
Paul definitely qualified as a mentor for Timothy and others. . .but through his writings. . .a Paul is definitely someone we need in our lives.
Additionally, in your circle of friends (seven) you need to have a mentor.
As I’ve often said. . .if you’re the smartest person in your circle of seven. . .you need some new friends.
Here are ten strategies for finding a mentor. . .who may be outside your current circle.
1. Identify what area you need mentoring in
2. Create a list of possible mentors.
3. Start with the big dog or top cat and work down.
4. Write down everything you know about that person
6. Who do you know who knows them?
7. Prepare to contact them.
8. Make contact.
9. Follow up with a thank you note.
10. If at first you don’t succeed, try the next one.
2. Timothy, a protégé
Are there people in your circle of friends. . .who look to you for advice. . .instruction and direction?
Perhaps a more important question. . .is whether or not they’re open to your thoughts and perspective.
In our circle. . .we need a protégé like Timothy.
Acts 16:1-2 in the New Living Translation says:
“Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers[a] in Lystra and Iconium.”
Are the people in your group well-thought of because of their family background or strong faith?
Sadly, many people are now from dysfunctional families. . .but those who have given their hearts to Jesus. . .set themselves apart from everyone else because of their testimony and passion.
Acts 16:4-5 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.
As you help the protégés in your life. . .whether at work, church or wherever. . .you will begin to experience greater success and a stronger faith.
Exodus 18:20 in the Message Bible says:
“Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.”
In order to be successful in life you must have a successor . . .which means you must train those who work with you to effectively handle the things you need help in achieving.
If you’re learning a new occupation . . .you want to learn from people who have already proven themselves successful.
An effective leader should always be trying to work themselves out of a job . . .by training and developing new leaders who can assume even greater areas of responsibility.
You’d be amazed or maybe not . . .at the number of people who do everything themselves because they illogically figure that if someone else becomes good at their job. . .they may lose it to them.
Now is that faulty logic . . .it’s scripturally unsound. Consider the success principle E68 (Ephesians 6:8).
Whatever good thing you cause to happen to someone else. . .God will do for you.
If you train someone in the workplace and are then dismissed…know this: God keeps the books. Be expectant… you’re being promoted!
If you’re good at developing protégés. . . successful leaders . . .you’ll never be out of a job. . .or friends.
3. Barnabus, an encourager
Everyone. . .no matter how self-motivated or focused. . .needs an encourager in their lives. . .someone like Barnabus.
Acts 4:36 in the New Living Translation says:
“For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.”
What qualities should we look for in an encourager?
Acts 11:24 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For he was a good man [good in himself and also at once for the good and the advantage of other people], full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit and full of faith (of his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation). And a large company was added to the Lord.”
Let’s also look at Acts 4:37 in the New Living Translation which says:
“He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”
There are seven qualities in Barnabas that we should look for in encouragers who are in our circle of friends.
First, they must be good. . .a good man. . .a good woman.
Second, they must be good on the inside. . .as well as. . .on the outside. Their goodness needs to be real.
Third, the encourager must desire to improve the quality of life for others.
Fourth, they must be wrapped up, tangled up and full of the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, the faith of an encourager must be clearly evident to everyone. . .saint or sinner.
Sixth, by their nature. . .encouragers will bring increase to everyone who comes in contact with them.
Finally, seventh, an encourager gives without a hidden agenda. . .just as Barnabus did when he gave money to the apostles.
Is there anyone of your circle of seven who demonstrate some or all of these character qualities?
4. Stephen, a servant
Every circle of friends. . .need servants. There are so many examples in the scripture like Martha or Mary Magdalene. However, I was lead to Stephen.
Stephen was born a Jew in Greece. He was a man of learning, educated, and refined who trained at the feet of the noted teacher, Gamaliel.
Acts 6:1-7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food.
3 Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
4 But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
5 And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit. . .”
What happens when you have people with a servant’s heart in your circle of friends?
Acts 6:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].”
Stephen was an humble man. . .even though he was far more educated than his accusers or most everyone else.
A true servant. . .always thinks of. . .blesses and serves others before themselves.
Even in his death. . .Stephen was concerned about his accusers.
Acts 6:59-60 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].”
In your circle. . .you want friends who will be with you on the mountaintops as well as in your valleys of distress and disappointment.
5. Nathan, a friend who speaks the truth in love
A true friend is with you during the good times and the bad. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. . .getting off course. . .and away from the Word. . .a true friend will bring correction for re-direction.
A true friend does shy away from telling you the less than pleasant news.
Nathan the Prophet, at God’s direction, did not hesitate to go to King David, his good friend, in 2 Samuel 7:1-17 to tell the King God didn’t want him to build the temple. I strongly encourage you to read the entire passage. . .it’s a beautiful message of re-direction for the King. . .who accepted Nathan’s word without questioning or criticizing what he had to say.
Nathan had an even more difficult assignment when he approached King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-12 to expose his adultery, murder and sin.
No doubt, King David knew Nathan’s character. . .so he respected his words and it goes without saying. . .he knew he had sinned against God.
2 Samuel 12:9 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, doing evil in His sight? You have slain Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. You have murdered him with the sword of the Ammonites.”
King David knew his friend was speaking the truth to him.
2 Samuel 12:13 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Every person who desires to be successful needs someone like Nathan in their lives and especially, in their circle of friends.
We should never shun friends who speak a truth we may not want to hear. . .but we should embrace them. . .as King David did.
In fact, King David named one of his children. . .Nathan. Read 2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 3:5; and 14:4.
Here’s the question for each of us to consider.
Do we have a Nathan in our circle of friends?
Are we a Nathan in someone else’s circle of friends.
6. Ruth, a loyal friend
Without question. . .you should have a Ruth in your life. . .and, of course, they need to be of the appropriate gender.
Throughout my life. . .I have learned the distinction between friends who are loyal and those who are along for the ride.
Everybody needs a Ruth.
Hey, I’ve got one. . .her name is Annie Ruth. . .and she’s my 85-year old anointed mother.
In your circle of friends you need someone who will be loyal to you. . .no matter what may happen.
Let’s see what we can learn from Ruth.
First, she married a foreigner instead of one of her Moabite home boys.
Second, she was probably ostracized from her family. . .because she didn’t marry the one they picked. . .as would have been the custom.
Third, her husband died and she was forced to live with her mother-in-law who according to the scripture was a bitter woman over the loss of her husband and sons.
Fourth, widows with husbands and sons. . .were not the toast of the town. . .that’s why Jesus teaches us to care for the widows and the orphans.
Fifth, now her mother-in-law is returning to her home where Ruth will be a foreigner.
I could go on but I think the message is clear. . .Ruth was loyal and a woman of character and it showed.
Ruth 3:11 in God’s Word translation says:
“Don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do whatever you say. The whole town knows that you are a woman who has strength of character.”
Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi in the midst of adversity revealed her character. . .sealing her destiny and her place in Biblical history. It also changed her mother in law from bitter to joyful.
Our youngest son Jamie. . .is amazingly loyal to his friends. . .no matter what. . .even when his loyalty is not reciprocated.
At the end of the day. . .Jamie says. . .it’s not what they do. . .but what he does that matters.
While I fully appreciate his friendship fidelity . . . in your inner circle. . .you need friends who are loyal. . .even when it’s not convenient or just plain hard.
7. Andrew, a bringer (witness)
In your circle of friends. . .you need an Andrew.
Now I take particular pleasure in this one as our youngest grand sugar is named Andrew.
Andrew is mentioned three times of substance in the Bible other than being listed with the other disciples. All three times he was doing the same thing. . . bringing people to Jesus.
First, Andrew brought his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus.
John 1:40-42 in the Amplified Bible says:
“40 One of the two who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first sought out and found his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found (discovered) the Messiah!—which translated is the Christ (the Anointed One). 42 Andrew then led (brought) Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John. You shall be called Cephas—which translated is Peter [Stone].”
Andrew was a follower of John the Baptist and he also followed Jesus.
No doubt Peter was always the center of everything. . .in fact, he was probably the star quarterback in high school. . .okay, maybe not.
But this much I do know to be true. . .Peter obviously respected his brother Andrew because he immediately followed him to meet Jesus.
The second time Andrew was mentioned in substance was in John 6:5-13 in the New International Version which says:
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
I can visualize Andrew walking through the crowed. . .talking with the people. . .when he saw the little boy with the loaves and fishes. . . He brought the lad to Jesus. He was an observer.
The final time. . .Andrew is mentioned is when some Greeks approached Philip wanting to see Jesus. . .who not knowing what to do went to Andrew.
John 12:20-22 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now among those who went up to worship at the Feast were some Greeks. These came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and they made this request, Sir, we desire to see Jesus. Philip came and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip together [went] and told Jesus.”
All three times. . .Andrew does the same thing. . .he brings people to Jesus.
In our circle of friends. . .we need people who will bring ideas and opportunities. . .people who are loyal to our vision and calling.
Andrew was a bringer. . .by the way, did I tell you that our grandson’s name is Andrew? I’m believing he will grow up to be a mighty man of God like the disciple Andrew.
Now that we’ve been through the 7 people we need… it’s important to remember that we need to be … as much as possible… to exhibit these qualities to our friends as well.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS