Wise Friends Make us Wiser Friends
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.…Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed…A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might,” (Proverbs 13:20; 15:22; 24:5)
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Have you ever owned an antique? I used to have many antique tables in my home. I purchased some that had been painted, which I stripped and refinished, to show off the original wood in its best light. I have also had very cheap furniture that didn’t last very long. The antique furniture became more valuable as it aged in its best condition. However, inexpensive and poorly made furniture gives out very quickly to become trash, ruined and useless. Bad company and fools are worse than that furniture because they harm and corrupt others. They are best abandoned like a broken chair, since they will only annoy, at best and irreparable damage at worst, for their lack of wisdom. Wise friends who offer good counsel, who are full of strength and godly knowledge enhance their friends, like antiques enhance a home.
A wise friend influences others for good by growing in wisdom. Wisdom is the strength of biblical friendships and leads to the kind of stability that can only be found in Jesus Christ. The wise friend is humble and meek, seeking not his own good but that of his friends. She is cognizant of her limitations and recognizes her biases and presumptions. She grows stronger with each passing year because the Lord is at work in her. Her friends also benefit from her spiritual growth and wisdom. A wise friend who works to resist a temptation encourages other to do the same. A companion who prays regularly with others will remind his friends that speaking with the Lord is always appropriate and advisable. A Christian neighbor or colleague who is at ease sharing the gospel will help others to do the same and redirect their focus from the world to the Lord.
Their surrounding Greek society strongly influenced the Corinthian believers. The proverb “Bad company ruins good morals” was common in their city. * It has a parallel meaning to the popular Jewish proverb, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6) Perhaps both remind us of a modern saying: “If you lie down with dogs you’ll get fleas.” This is biblical wisdom that includes such common sense. We should not be deceived—the people with whom we associate influence us, as does advertising, movies, music, media, TV, books, Facebook, etc.
Let’s choose our friends carefully, and ask God for grace to let go of those with whom there is no spiritual growth, for our mutual good.
* John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-15.html