Friends Don’t Let Friends Live ‘Sober’

Rhema TeamJanuary 2021 WOFLeave a Comment

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You have probably heard the statement, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Letting friends drive intoxicated with alcoholic beverages is dangerous. But so is letting friends go through life “sober.” Ephesians 5:18 (GNT) says, “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit.” We can be appropriately intoxicated with the Spirit of God!

It’s dangerous for believers to try and fulfill their calling without being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Believers are supposed to finish their course with joy! If you’re a true friend, what do you do when one of your friends is just a little too sober? “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”
(Eph. 5:18–19 NKJV). We need to help our friends stay appropriately inebriated with God!

Identify Your Friends

You can’t take care of everybody, so be led about who you spend your time with. Jesus ministered to a multitude, dealt with the 70, and spent a lot of time with 12. But He only poured Himself into three.

Friendship may not seem like something that fits perfectly. Look at your thumb. Your thumbnail is very hard, and it’s right next to skin that is very soft. God has placed each of us in the Body of Christ as He sees fit (1 Cor. 12:28). We don’t get to pick! Identify who you are supposed to do life with.

It’s dangerous for believers to try and fulfill their calling without being under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Joe Duininck

Recognize Partnership

The world looks for sterile, perfect relationships that take no time, energy, or work. Partnership can be messy! The Apostle Paul said, “I have you in my heart” (Phil. 1:7). If someone is in your heart, then they can tear it out! True partnership means you’re putting yourself at risk.

What are you willing to risk for those you’ve identified by the Lord to be your friends? Give your life to them, knowing they may not give back. Real partnership is sharing life together—authentic and high risk—carrying someone to Jesus and never giving up easily.

Encourage = Build Courage

Be an amazing encourager! Help your friends become who they were meant to be. Scriptural encouragement builds faith. We see this throughout the Bible: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. God is with you!”

Sometimes you need to pick people up and have mercy, but there can be too much mercy. Don’t let your friends live “sober” and underperform on God’s plan for their lives! Come alongside them and say, “You can do this thing! You can be strong and live the way you’re supposed to live! I will go arm in arm with you.” Encouragement takes people toward their maximum potential.

Master an Authentic Love Walk

Love forgives and is merciful, long-suffering, patient, and wise. But that’s not all it is. It is appropriately confrontational and prunes friends by the Holy Spirit’s leading, not by our culture. If you think love looks like you, it might be partially correct or totally wrong! “Minnesota nice” and “Texas tough” can be very different viewpoints of love.

If we don’t know what Bible love looks like, we will miss it. Jesus did not want His disciples to shrink back. He asked things like, “Where is your faith? Why did you doubt?” Real love challenges us to fulfill God’s plan.

We say “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17). Think about that. It’s intense, hot, and causes sparks! Nobody likes the painful part. We want the final product, but being forged by the direction of the Lord may mean having to partner through some pain!

Boldly live to your fullness and build up your friends. Identify them, partner with them, encourage them, and have an authentic love walk, because if you’re a true friend, you won’t let your friends live “sober.”


[Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Joe Duininck’s message from Winter Bible Seminar 2020. Joe is an RBTC instructor and the director of the Rhema School of World Missions.]

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Joe Duininck

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