• Build our confidence in God as well as in ourselves.
• Encourage us when we are troubled and despondent.
• Stimulate us to reach our potential.
• Energize us when we are weary.
• Comfort us when we are hurting.
• Defend us when we are attacked.
• Forgive us when we make mistakes.
• Love us unconditionally.
• Confront us when we go astray.
• Serve us when we are overextended.
It is good to ask ourselves if we have anyone in our life who fills the needs mentioned on this list. It is also important to discover which relationships may be deflecting us from the path of godliness. When this happens, we may have to separate from certain individuals in order to maintain our standards. But when separation is not an option—as when the unhealthy relationship involves a family member—we can still persevere and walk with God.
Now, let’s look at the same list from a different angle: Do you do those things for others? We can determine to provide those qualities to people around us. Such relationships are among life’s greatest treasures.