Recognizing the important and powerful influence friends have in one’s life, the Assemblies of God encourages Christians to be concerned about the influence and relational level of their closest friends. Ultimately, all close friendships affect one’s character either for good or bad. For this reason it is essential that Christians discern the spiritual impact of their friendships.
Generally it is risky for Christians to build deep friendships with those who do not share a spiritual bond in Christ. If the friendship has no deep spiritual unity, it is then based on secular values, material interests, and views of the world. In such instances the negative spiritual toll on the Christian is significant as one’s spirit is constantly dulled through repeated exposure to worldviews and ideas. Few Christians are able to live consistent holy lives when unequally yoked in deep friendships with unbelievers. Proverbs says, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray" (12:26).
God's plan for reaching the world with the message of salvation requires a level of friendship with non-Christians. Jesus said we are to be salt and light to our world (Matthew 5:13-16). In other words we are to be shining examples before our communities of God’s grace and goodness. This is not accomplished from a distance, but rather through loving friendships. While such friendships must be genuine, the level of closeness should be guarded. The direction of the friendship should ultimately lead toward God and His ways. As the Christian spends time with, talks at some depth with, and is somewhat open and vulnerable with non-Christian friends, the opportunity to lead a friend to Christ can become a reality. Almost everyone who has become a Christian did so because a Christian friend directed him or her to Christ. If a Christian has no non-Christian friends, the opportunity for effective witnessing is very limited. But in those situations of mixed friendships including believers and non-believers, the Christian must be the leader (the one who sets the moral course), not the one led. Only then do we fulfill the scriptural instruction of being salt and light.
God is love (1 John 4:16), and as such He is mankind's greatest Friend. He is a Friend of sinners as well as of Christians. "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16). The Old Testament patriarch Abraham believed God, "and he was called God's friend" (James 2:23). The Bible says "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4). From these scriptures it becomes apparent that our friendship with God is a matter of spiritual life or death.”