Are you hanging out with somebody (or a crowd) that isn’t good for you? If you’re having trouble answering this question, perhaps a different one would give you some perspective: Do you hope your children will grow up to be just like the people you choose to spend time with?
Even if you change friends, if you continue to hang out with the same type of people, what kind of person will you be a year from now? Five years from now? Will their influence on you help you become a better individual, spouse or parent? If you continue spending time with these people, will it help you be effective at work, a blessing in your church or a leader in your community?
Psalm 1:1 (ESV) talks about avoiding ungodly influence:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.
Do you want to emulate the people you spend most of your time with? Or are they simply a means of momentary escape from life’s pressures – at the expense of compromising your integrity? Rather than supporting your convictions and goals, do they mock and ridicule what you know to be true and good?
Sometimes, with all good intentions, they may offer wrong advice. For example, to keep you out of trouble, they might help you make up a story to tell your boss that covers up the real reason you missed work. Or they might encourage you to keep secrets from your spouse. If we’re not careful, during a weak moment, any one of us can give into ungodly counsel.
Deceit can be subtle. The more we listen to it and take part in it, the more it clouds our thinking. The next thing we know, our desires and goals are derailed. Rather than feeling blessed, as our verse mentions, we feel regret and disappointment. Sadly, we not only feel disappointed about the way our life is going, but we also feel disappointed in ourselves.
But this doesn’t have to be the end of our story. Beginning today, with God’s help, we can choose better friends – friends we’d be proud to have our children emulate.
What about you?
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- Is it time to reconsider the type of people you choose to spend most of your time with?
- Is it time for us to consider what kind of friend (influence) we are to others?
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