The Company We Keep
This month, we would like to talk about the company a person keeps and how that company ultimately influences the person they become. Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
We are the sum of all the intimate friends we interact with in life. Our thought process, our actions, and our lifestyle all derive from the circle of friends we choose. The source of your beliefs and thoughts are greatly influenced by those around you, for better or for worse.
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”
Your dreams and desires are nourished and starved by the influence of your friends. Moreover, your influence on others will also help shape the course of your friends lives. Think about it for a moment. Do you have a friend who encourages you when you are feeling low? Have they said words to you that sustained you when you’ve needed it? Have they acted in faith or boldness in life, and because of that, it influenced you to do the same? Or to the contrary, do you have a friend who is depressing and critical and constantly taking from you but never giving? Do you have someone close to you who discourages your thoughts and dreams? Either way, good influence or bad influence, you will become what you associate with.
It is virtually impossible to achieve great things in life while being fed negative input. This is an important fact to recognize if you want to fulfill your calling. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon a friend if he or she is negative or has some other flaw, because we all have flaws (Colossians 3:12-14), but it does mean you need to judge what your closest circle of friends believe, and thus, listen to those who truly care for your wellbeing and have words of wisdom. True friends want to see the best for each other, but immature friends will secretly or openly try to hold you back from great things. Immature friends do this because they are threatened by the idea of change and fear their own failures. The best advice is to find like-minded friends who are equally yoked, and encourage each other in sincerity and kindness. If your circle of friends does not believe or act in the same fashion your spirit says is right, then you are either destined to conform, or will one day take a different path that leads you away from them.
Friendships are key to sustaining a good life and realizing your dreams and callings. We cannot go it alone. Ecclesiastes 4:10 “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” You also can’t have the expectation that everyone will be perfect, but you need to stick close to family and friends that are encouraging. Be patient and be kind, but if you are grieved in your spirit that your associations are tearing down your spiritual walk — then make a change.
On the path of life, God gives us many great friendships and these should not be neglected. If someone is a stalwart of encouragement to you, let them know. If someone has helped you up when you have fallen, tell them thanks. Value those who are a blessing to you and as you give your love to them, you will receive it back many fold.