Recently, during sessions with a couple of my mentees, the topic of unhealthy connections in one’s circle of influence came to the forefront. So, I really wanted to share with you the importance of “knowing who you with.” There are plenty of reasons why this is so critical, and be sure to look for more posts to come on this subject, but to start, here is something to consider when assessing your circle of influence and why it’s important.
If your goal is to live in freedom, almost nothing has the power to bind more than words. So knowing the hearts of those you are in relationship with, those you allow to speak into your life, can be a matter of life or death. Yes, I know that sounds reeeally serious, but that’s because it is! Take a look- Luke 6:45 explains that it is from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks, and Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. So, putting those two things together means- this is serious!
Relationships are very precious to God. This is why He gave His Son, Jesus, to restore relationship with each one of us. Relationships, not things, bring real value to our lives as individuals, and the benefits are too numerous to mention. However, there is one benefit that I want to highlight: relationships make it possible for us to have access to a very powerful tool- the tool of agreement. It is activated when the hearts of two or more people fully agree concerning a matter. Matthew 18:18-19 gives the details on how this tool of agreement works. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. “Well, God and I make two.” Yes, I can hear someone saying that, but the power of this tool goes way back to the Garden of Eden. From the moment Eve was created from Adam’s rib, the power of agreement was put into action. When Eve ate of the fruit, it wasn’t until Adam ate of the fruit after her that agreement was established. So, as it was on earth, so it was in heaven, and they and the rest of mankind was thrown into sin and experienced death- separation from God.
Ok, let’s look at one example that may hit a little closer to home. I am sure Job had all kinds of questions about the hearts of his inner circle when they came to see about him during his ordeal. In Job 1, God allowed Satan to strip him of his family, wealth, and health. Job’s friends started well and certainly had good intentions, lamenting with him and consoling him, but in Job 42:7, God rebuked them. And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. While Job never wavered in his belief in the sovereignty of God, Job’s friends eventually started questioning Job’s relationship with God as the reason for his calamity. So even though they started well, their hearts were revealed when out of the abundance of them, their mouths spoke…in disagreement with Job. The lack of agreement caused Job to question his relationship with his heavenly Father. God was angered not by anything they did but by what they said. Any relationship that causes you to question any aspect of your relationship with your heavenly Father is one that requires serious re-evaluation, because this relationship qualifies you for abundant life, now and in heaven!
So, now that you understand the dangers of unhealthy connections, how can you avoid them?
- They should all be born again believers of similar or greater maturity; this will help support spiritual growth
- If you’ve been recently hurt, take time with the Lord to heal before adding to your circle
- Take your time; access to your inner circle should not be given but earned…and remember, good person does not always mean right person
- Observe their conversation both with you and with others, especially in challenging situations; this will reveal a lot about their heart
- Take note of how you feel during your interactions with them; if you don’t feel the love of God, even when tough words are being said, this person is not a candidate
- If what they say is frequently out of line with the Word of God or what the Lord has spoken to you, you may want to re-evaluate their role in your life
- Above all…Pray! Consult the Holy Spirit and make Him the Lord of your circle instead of your emotions