Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
I spent most of my adolescence and young adulthood trying to turn myself into something. Without a clear identity of my own, my search for friends was about more than companionship. I was looking for people who could influence and define me. I became a chameleon of sorts. Whenever I met new people who I wanted to impress, I adopted their interests so that we would have something in common. The company I kept determined the changes in my tastes and opinions. Although I clearly was being molded by others and imitating them instead of creating a person of my own, I would not have admitted it. My pride would have told you that no one else controls what I think and feel, and that I was my own man.
We will be more careful regarding the company we keep if we understand that spending time with people creates influence. No two people can have a relationship of any kind without both of them changing or learning from the experience. We develop our personalities from many sources, and one of those sources is our personal relationships. When we invite people into a friendship relationship, we must be conscious of how we will influence each other. Those who are wise and knowledgeable in the Spirit will impart those traits to us. We also will have knowledge and wisdom to share with them. It is a symbiotic relationship that works to produce fruit in our individual and corporate lives. Those are the kinds of friendships we should seek.
God is by no means telling us to alienate those who are new to the faith or not well versed in the word, because they should be discipled. The fools in this verse are not the ones who just do not know much about God. The fools are the ones who do not pursue him at all. The wise ones do not necessarily have it all down, but they hunger and thirst for whatever the Father has to offer. That is the kind of influence that we should desire as we walk through our sanctification. We want to surround ourselves with those who are wise enough to know that the pursuit of God and his kingdom comes first. Father, bring us wise brothers and sisters to walk alongside us as friends, and keep us teachable to learn from them.