So I think one of the most valuable things that we can do to cultivate our personal relationship with Jesus is to allow others in our circle of friends to influence us and have an effect on us as we follow Christ together.
Obviously, this comes with a few different considerations. This presumes that you are surrounding yourself with people who are going to have a good effect on you. Generally, it’s a good principle to remember that who you surround yourself with is who you become. If you want to become more loving, surround yourself with loving people. If you want to become more forgiving, surround yourself with forgiving people. If you want to become more generous, surround yourself with generous people. The opposite is also true, though: if you surround yourself with people who are angry all the time, you’ll probably start to cultivate that in your life. The same if you surround yourself with stingy people or sad people or whatever else. It’s just a fact of life.
Obviously, this isn’t to say you can only spend time with all the greatest people in the world who have incredible commitment to virtues you’re trying to build in your life. We are asked by God to be a light to the world, and this means placing ourselves right in the midst of our broken, fallen world – not shielding ourselves from it.
The real question here, though, is who am I allowing to speak into my life? Are they people who are helping to cultivate me as a Christ follower? Or are they people who might actually be destructive to me as a Christ follower? This is especially valuable around the holidays… don’t let parties, get-togethers, and all the other hustle and bustle of the Christmas season crowd out the valuable power of community to help cultivate your relationship with Jesus in your life. We all need it!
P.S.: Merry Christmas! Thanks for making my job the best one in the world!