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Last week we learned that we have hope that is found in Jesus Christ. We must be diligent to be good messengers and listen to those around us who have walked where we walk. We have reverence and trust in God and therefore follow His words even when we don’t understand. This morning, we’ll look at one incredibly important concept.
In Pro. 13:20 Solomon says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Solomon starts off with a proven principle. “He who walks with wise men will be wise.” This seems so obvious, but so neglected. Smart people hang out with smart people. Wise people hang out with wise people. Godly people hang out with godly people. I recently had a revelation. Too many of us have a cry wolf attitude in the wrong things of life. One of our children comes down with a fever or other symptom and we frantically search WebMD to diagnose the mystery ailment. We post on Facebook for all our self taught doctor friends to weigh in with their diagnosis and recommended course of action and then we go to the doctor and tell him how to treat the child. Our car makes a funny noise and we immediately take it to the mechanic. Our child expresses an interest in a sport and we buy them the best equipment and get them into a program. Someone posts about an issue they’re having and we comment about what they should do. We’ve got the answer for everyone else. Something happens in our personal life or we go through some kind of trial and we isolate ourselves from those that can provide us what we need. My experience is that church participation is a barometer for our spiritual temperature.
If you want to be encouraged, walk with people that are encouraging. If you want to know more about Jesus Christ, walk with people that know Him. I know I’ve said it before, but we seem to be much more willing to stick out difficult situations in every other aspect of our lives except our walk with Christ. The littlest thing sets us off. Love that is supposed be unconditional has limits. Grace that is expected on a personal level is withheld from others. For some reason we are very hesitant to try and restore relationships with one another in a church setting, but have little difficulty doing this in other settings. If and when we’re approached in a loving manner, we immediately go on the defensive and don’t even consider the love a person has for us or the courage it takes to confront an issue head on. Then we blame God and quit.
1 Jo. 3:18, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” That is what Solomon is saying. It’s not enough to speak truth or believe truth. That’s good, but it cannot stop there. The truth must be a critical element of who we are inside. The truth provides demostrative evidence that we belong to Jesus. Col. 1:10 says, “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” We often listen to the nonsense from society that issues the edict that no one is to judge. Paul says, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1) The idea that we are prohibited to tell people the truth so we don’t come across judgmental is nonsensical and the people that make such claims, well, they just don’t know the Bible. I encourage you to take a look at Eph. 5:11-15. Paul gives us something very important for us to do. This comes also with other cautions because stopping at saying something is wrong does not meet the intent of what Paul is telling us to do. Jesus asked the question in Matt. 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Jesus is pointing out that sometimes we can be very critical of others and miss something that is in our own lives. He’s not saying you’re forbidden from pointing out the speck, but first you need to evaluate your own life. That does not mean perfection. That’s what people often say though. When some issue is pointed out, the first thing out of their mouth is a laundry list of things that are wrong with us. We need to be receptive to the correction that comes from other seasoned, experienced, and mature believers. We must be more flexible in the church, more willing to allow Christ to change us, but there it is again. I’m thinking that some folks that profess to be believers don’t want anyone in their business because they don’t want to grow, they don’t want to learn, they don’t want to be more like Christ because they are not followers of Christ. You cannot be a follower of Christ without a relationship with Him. Just because someone comes to church doesn’t make them a believer. We must make discipleship an intentional aspect of our lives. We must be willing to be discipled and to make disciples. We must be a fellowship where love and acceptance is infused into us by the Spirit of God.
If you want to be wise, walk with wise people, but Solomon says the opposite is also true. “But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Are you wondering why I don’t skip over this stuff? How many different ways is Solomon going to say it? That’s a valid question so we have to ask ourselves, why? Why does Solomon take up so much space saying the same thing over and over? Let’s change up the question. If you’re a spouse, how many times do you tell your other half the same thing? If you’re a parent, how many times do you tell your child the same thing? If you’re a manager or supervisor, how many times do you tell your people the same thing over and over again? If you’re a teacher, how many times do you tell your students the same thing over and over? If you’re a coach, how many times do you tell the team the same thing over and over again? You tell them until they get it. That’s what God is doing through Solomon. He’s reminding us of things we should know, but fail to put into practice on a consistent basis. If you hang with people that do not share your beliefs, values, and ethics, there is a far better chance that you will alter your standards because of them rather than vice versa. Paul emphatically states, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Cor. 15:33) When your best pal is a biblical fool, you will likely become foolish. Remember Solomon defines a fool as someone that has the right answer yet does not follow it. Harm will come. Solomon is talking guarantees. Be careful who you spend time with. Of course God wants you to share the truth with people that are far from Him. There’s a difference between having a meal with someone and being their best friend. One of the most challenging things experienced after salvation is making a break from those people that do not hold the same values.
We need to hang with people that will challenge us to soar higher, to walk closer to God, to be more like Christ. If you want to be more like Christ which is God’s desire for us, you need to walk along side of people that have the same goals. You need to be actively engaged in the walk of faith.