Choose Your Friends Wisely.
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” – Proverbs 13:20 NLT
What if you were to read the Proverbs as if our heavenly Father was writing these words specifically to us as His children? Consider the possibility that these are not really the words of Solomon to his son, but the counsel of God to His people. And they are far more than just simple maxims for life, but the divine advice of a wise and all-knowing God who is trying to equip His children to live life in this world. God knows there are two types of people in this world: Those who seek after Him and benefit from that relationship by gaining wisdom, knowledge, understanding, insight and common sense; and those who reject Him, living their lives as if He doesn’t exist and attempting to navigate life on their own wits and wherewithal.
God seems to be telling us to choose our friends carefully because they will have a tremendous influence on our lives. Those with whom we choose to spend our lives will end up impacting our lives in a dramatic manner – either positively or negatively. So choose wisely. In fact, God tells us that if we walk with the wise we will become more wise. The Hebrew word for walk is halak, and it can mean “to live your life.” It is as if God is saying, “If you want to increase in wisdom, as you go about your daily life, associate with wise people who love God.” Who we choose to surround ourselves with will play a major part in whether we end up more godly or less. This is not a command to completely disassociate ourselves from ungodly people, but to recognize that there is a potential danger in making them the primary relationships in our lives. But I really think that God is warning us to stay away from those who claim to be Christ-followers but who live like fools, ignoring the wisdom of God and choosing to live as if He doesn’t really exist. These people are a real danger to our faith walk. They appear to be like-minded, going to church and going through the motions of religious activity. But for all intents and purposes, they live as if God doesn’t exist. They ignore His Word, they refuse to listen to His commands, they love the world more than they do Him, and they rely on the wisdom of this world more than they do the wisdom available through an intimate relationship with God the Father. The danger of surrounding ourselves with these kinds of “fools” is that we feel safe. They make us feel comfortable. They say all the right things. They go to church. They pray. They may even go to Bible study with us. But in the end, they are pretenders. They talk a good game, but don’t walk the talk. They will slowly and subtly lull us into a sense of spiritual complacency. God warns us, “Associate with fools and get in trouble.” These people are a bad influence. They want all the blessings that God has to offer, but are to lazy to seek them (Proverbs 13:4, 11). They leave behind a wake of shame and disgrace from their actions (Proverbs 13:5). They are too proud to take advice (Proverbs 13:10, 13, 18). They are dangerously impulsive and lack discernment (Proverbs 13:16). They never see their hopes and dreams come about because they refuse to turn from evil (Proverbs 13:12, 19). They seemed plagued by trouble (Proverbs 13:21).
Why would you associate with people like this? Because they seem pleasant enough. They are good-natured, fun-loving, easy-going, and lower the bar of expectation so that you feel good about yourself. They don’t challenge you, correct you, push you, inspire you, or encourage you to greater things. They are content to live in spiritual mediocrity. But if you choose to surround yourself with the wise, you will inherently grow wiser. The wise are those who love God and who humbly live their lives in dependence upon Him. They are not perfect, but simply driven to know God better and better. They realize they can’t live the Christian life without Him. These kind of people inspire us, encourage us, uphold us, and sometimes even admonish us. They refuse to accept second-best from us. They are the ones who are growing in their knowledge of the Word. They pray for us. They confess sin to us. They are humble, selfless, kind, encouraging, inspiring, and sometimes even intimidating. But when we’re around them, we can’t help but want more out of life. So who have you surrounded yourself with? What kind of people are having the greatest impact and influence on your life? Choose your friends wisely.
Father, thank You for placing wise, godly friends in my life. Continue to help me select my friends carefully. They will play a significant role in helping me stay steady and on course as I live my life in this fallen world. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men