“He who walks with wise men will be wise,
but a companion of fools will be destroyed.”
It has been said that we are known by the friends we select, and that is true. However, in Proverbs, King Solomon was led to write a much deeper truth. Wisdom and dignity come to us through the influence of those around us. Their values will either help lift us up or pull us down. This is why Christian disciples are not to be unequally yoked with non-believers. This principle applies to marriage, business, and all our other important relationships in life. The Bible simply warns, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14a)
All it takes in life is – prayer, common sense, and enough observation to understand who we should date or partner with in business. Being unequally yoked is a major temptation through which the enemy seeks to misguide us. He will do this to undermine our standards, negatively impact our witness, and in every way possible – marginalize the effectiveness of our lives and Christian calling!
Beware of self-deception; if we continually think about unwise and worldly behavior, it will only be a matter of time before we experience it. Then will come the repercussions! This is why the Bible warns, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he….and out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Proverbs 23:7; Luke 6:45) Combined, this picture becomes complete. Either for good or for bad, our thoughts, conversations, and companions will guide our actions.
Crudeness, disrespectful speech, sarcasm, profanity, exaggeration, and lying all pass through one’s mind before they pass over one’s lips. This is why the words we speak reflect our inner character and spiritual purity. This is also why the Bible warns about the tongue. Without God’s help it says, “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)
The most important part of our personal Christian witness relates to protecting our own heart. Consider the Biblical instruction, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Notably, one of the simplest ways to do this is to make wise decisions about the people and activities with which we invest our time. We are advised to avoid negative spiritual influence. For our own protection, the Bible says, “…come out from them, and be separate…” (2 Corinthians 6:17). This is not about being proud or unfriendly, but about living wisely.
We need to seek friends who stretch us spiritually. This process was described by King Solomon when he wrote, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Our friends who do not yet personally know the Lord as their Savior, need to be encouraged and consistently guided toward Him, by our example.
As you pray today, ask the Lord to bring you wise Christian friends and help you withstand the secular influence of the world around you. The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
By Billie Hanks Jr.