Who do you name as your closest friends? Believe it or not, this question is a matter of great concern to the Lord because your friendships speak loudly, both to God and to the world, about the condition of your heart.

"Lord, what do You think of my friendships? Are they pleasing to You?" Have you ever thought to ask Him these questions? The fact is, a righteous friend can provide a link to the blessing and favor of God, because he encourages you toward a godly lifestyle. On the other hand, an unrighteous friend can be a chain to every kind of evil, leading you into terrible bondages.

As I use the word friend throughout this message, I am not referring to immediate family members. My definition of a friend here is someone with whom you are closely associated, one in whom you naturally confide. In short, a friend is someone with whom you walk and talk and to whom you bare your soul.

You probably have various circles of friends: a "business" circle, which includes your coworkers, partners or clients; a "social" circle, which includes those with whom you associate on a surface level. You also may have contact with ungodly acquaintances. The apostle Paul says it's impossible for us to avoid these kinds of contacts; otherwise, we would have to leave the world altogether!

Yet the circle God cares about most is your intimate circle, your bosom pals. These are the people you love most, and who most influence your life. You are naturally attracted to one another, and you agree on most things so you feel safe opening your heart to each other.

The Bible tells us we are not to be ignorant concerning Satan's seductions. And one of the devil's most common attacks against us is to bring into our inner circle of friends someone who is walking in deception, an agent of hell who is on a mission to destroy us. Satan especially uses this ploy with lonely or compassionate Christians. He tries to turn an undiscerning person's kindness into an affinity with an evil spirit!

“Do not be deceived: evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners [people]” (1 Corinthians 15:33).