It is always important to be mindful of who you are surrounded by because it matters. As a child, we heard it from our parents and we didn’t want to listen. But then we got older and we started to see it play out. We realized that when we hung around certain people, we got in trouble because they liked to find trouble and you were right there along for the ride.
The Bible says that we should “walk with the wise and become wise.” If you spend time with people who are wise, you will glean so much. Just the same, if you “associate with fools” you will “get in trouble.” The foolish will pull you away. The foolish will plant seeds of doubt. The foolish will not encourage you to live in a godly manner.
We are not supposed to separate ourselves from the world; however, we need to be intentional with our relationships. You will become like the people who surround you. Today, look who you spend your time with each day. Are you walking with the wise or associating with fools?
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” – Proverbs 13:20 [NLT]
We are in the world though not of the world. We will be in the world until we are called home to be with the Lord. But James reminds us that we cannot be a friend of the world. This doesn’t say we cannot be part of the world. We are a part of the world. We are still in the flesh. This verse says that we aren’t to be a friend of the world.
A worldly friendship is something we have when we decide to choose the flesh and the temporary rather than God. A worldly friendship is when we turn ourselves away from our Creator and to something less. This kind of friendship has eyes taken off of Jesus and focused on everything around us that will one day fade away.
Today, are you a friend of God or an enemy? Have you made friends with the world? Or do you have a heart for God?
“You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4 [NLT]
People often tell me that it does not matter who they spend time with because they will be who they will be whether or not they are hanging around with people doing bad things. They have control. They are their own person. I have heard it again and again. And yes, some people have more self-control than others and some people do not follow the crowd as much as others; however, the people you spend time with ALWAYS matters.
If you spend time with someone who talks a lot about politics, you will likely hear and learn a lot about politics. You might even become more political. If you spend time with a group of people who are all Christians, you should be able to see a difference between them and the rest of the world. You may partake in more theological discussions, do more studying of God’s Word and pray more. When you interact a lot with those who listen to a particular type of music or talk a certain way or do certain things, you will be soaking in those things. Your dialect could change a bit while you are with them. You might be listening to different music than usual and start humming songs you never thought would come out of your mouth.
Some of the truths of life that I learned came from hanging out with wise people. Spending time with pastors, with ministry laypeople, with strong Christians, has taught me a great deal and has challenged me, helped me to grow, encouraged me, and guided me to who I am today. I remember a time when I was hanging out with those who many would deem “fools” and I can attest that part of my life was falling to pieces. So remember this Proverb. Remember this choice. Remember the importance of who you walk with in life. Wise walking will help you to grow and get where God wants you to be in life. Foolish walking is walking backwards. God has so much more for you. Believe me. Or better yet, believe Him.
“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”
-Proverbs 13:20 [MSG]
Everyone needs a friend. A few good friends can make a huge difference in your life. But are your friends loyal? That’s always something we only find out when we are knee deep in trouble. There are those friends who say they are friends when the going is good. When everything is going well, they are your friends. But you see your true friends when the times get tough.
When you have to move and it’s raining, your true friends are out there helping you as their sneakers are getting soggy. When you lost your job and won’t get your next check for a few weeks, the true friend is there with some food to help you along, not pretending you don’t exist till you are back to work. The true friend gives you a ride from the inspection place when you drop off your car, rather than let you walk in the dark at the wee hours of the morning, because they are concerned for your safety.
You might have a lot of friends. But when times are tough, the number may be fewer than you thought. I have found that to be very true in my own life. People are very quick to turn their backs and pretend nothing is happening. But a “brother is born to help in the time of need.” There are those God has placed in your life who are true friends—like family. Thank God for those true friends and ask Him to help you be one of those true friends, “a friend (who) is always loyal.”
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” – Proverbs 17:17 [NLT]