S215P4 – Warnings against foolishness: keep good company

Pro. 13:20

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

Influence can be a great battle of wills.  This is particularly the case when one is outnumbered.  If you have one child behaving badly and one behaving well, and you pair them together, it will be a toss-up which one will have greater influence over the other.  If you have one child behaving well and ten children behaving badly, it is a safe guess that the individual will be influenced by the group instead of the other way around.  Add to that the fact that it is in our sinful nature to be bad, and it takes effort and self-control to behave well, and the writing is on the wall.  That good child must approach this social setting intent on not being influenced by those behaving badly if he hopes to remain the same.

I once heard someone say that she can tell where someone is going based on the company they keep.  She meant that the general direction of someone’s future, whether success or failure, could be predicted by the people they choose to surround them.  It is a case of habits rubbing off of the more influential and onto the less influential.  One assumption is that we are drawn to those who have reached the places we want to go.  Another assumption is that those closest to us have some influence over us.  This passage certainly seems to correlate association with destination.  Once we have decided where we want to go, it is important to make sure that our community is headed to the same place.

Those who love the Lord and read his word will see what the wise person looks like.  They also will desire to fellowship with those who speak and act like the Lord, those who carry his Spirit and character.  Although we are to minister to a lost and dying world, companionship with that world is not something we can afford.  We feed the fools with our wisdom, but we cannot allow ourselves to be fed by them.  Those interactions must flow in one direction; their ways lead to destruction.  Either we bring them up or they take us down.  Father, help us to reach the fools of this world with your wisdom, and protect us from being led astray by them.