Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Today’s article is one of caution, but also of encouragement: the company you keep will (not can) influence you in one direction or another. This is a discussion that I’m sure many of you as parents are having with your kids, but remember that it applies to big people, too.
The new Galatians Christians were “quickly deserting” the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Some among them were troubling them and perverting the gospel (Galatians 1:6-7; 2:4; 4:17; 5:7-10; 6:12-13). It is a reminder of how quickly someone can be turned away from God and led to believe lies.
The same thing was happening in the Corinthian congregation. Some were preaching that there is no resurrection of the dead, and Paul warned that bad company (and teaching) can corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:12,33).
We see the same warnings by Paul as he wrote to the young evangelist Timothy. Certain conversations along with certain types of people can lead to the “ruin of the hearers,” and will “lead people into more ungodliness.” This teaching and influence will spread like gangrene, resulting in the “upsetting” of the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:14-18). These are powerful warnings from God, and as parents and children we should take heed.
There are verses aplenty about how many will follow the bad influences of others. It’s not just about false teaching, it may be that you are hanging around people with lousy attitudes and worldly passions, and that will take you down the wrong road as well (Hebrews 12:15; 2 Peter 2:2,18).
We are called by God to come out from among these evil influences and to chose holy friends and godly influences (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.
Think of what David just said. Who are his companions? Those who fear God and keep His commandments. Those are great friends!
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
(1 John 3:13-14)
What is the sign that we have passed from death into life, according to John? Our relationships! When we love the brothers, we will abide in life. When we love the world, we will by definition hate the brothers, and we will abide in death.
Look at this passage from Malachi. In the midst of a lot of wickedness and religious hypocrisy, there was a righteous remnant that hung out with each other and encouraged each other. See how God took notice of this?
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
And all who believed were together…
The believers were together. When we are together, powerful things happen for the kingdom of God. Our fellowship is not with this world, it is with Jesus Christ, His blood, and His body of believers!
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:3)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7)
It really is pretty simple, if you want to move closer to God, look at your friends and relationships. Where are they leading you?