Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Company we Keep is Important

Meditation for the week of May 16, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

The translation of the Bible called God’s Word rephrases this to say, “Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad people will ruin decent people.“  Obviously, it is important to choose our friends and associates wisely since they will influence who we are, what we do and what we believe.  Solomon violated this principle when he married foreign women who were not worshipers of Jehovah.  In stead of converting them, they converted him at least for a time.  Since he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, he may have been restored to the Lord at the end of his life.  However, because of the influence of unbelievers in his life, this wise man lost the confidence of the Lord and caused the kingdom of Israel to be divided. 

We often say that “birds of a feather flock together.”  That seems to mean that we seek out others that are like us.  While that may be true, we are all subject to peer pressure and the desire to be accepted.  As a result, sometimes we seek out those that we really aren’t like but whose approval we want.  Then, in order to obtain that approval, we become like them.  I have become more and more aware of the fact that the friends that I keep will affect who I am.

When we play tennis, we should play with those who are better than we are.  We may lose a game or a set, but we will improve our game.  When we play chess, we are told the same principle will improve our game.  Playing with those better than we are may be hard on the ego when we lose to them, but in time we may actually learn how to win most of the time.  The same principle applies in the spiritual realm.  We need to “hang out” with those who are more spiritual than we are.  They will challenge us to be more Christ-like in our attitudes and life.  Of course we do and should spend time in the right circumstances with those who are unsaved or carnal or less spiritual.  However, when we do we need to make sure that they are not going to be influencing our behavior.  We need to be influencing theirs.
Today, we are trying to be so culturally relevant in our Gospel outreach and church meetings that I feel that the unsaved and the carnal are influencing us rather than the other way around.  We make our meetings of the church such that everyone including the unsaved will feel “comfortable”.  We change the  language of the Gospel so that instead of talking about the lost or the unbeliever, we talk about seekers and the unchurched.  When we talk about sin, we fail to make people realize that sin is first and foremost an offense against God.  We can redefine it and we can make it socially acceptable, but God still hates it.    We don’t like to talk about the eternal consequences of our actions any more so we never mention that one of our eternal destinies could be a place where the worm does not die and the fire never burns itself out (Mark 9: 48).    We tend to encourage the unsaved to worship with us when they have never been converted,  born again, saved, or regenerated.  Who is changing whom?

I am beginning to realize how important it is in making close friends to ask the hard question, “Do I want to be like that person?”  Do they represent Christ the way I think He should be represented?”  I have seen the changes that take place in people’s lives when they associate with the wrong people.  Non-drinkers  become drinkers.  Language that used to be becoming to the person becomes rough.  Places of entertainment that used to be considered sinful become acceptable.   I have seen Christians who used to be gracious and loving become hard and critical.  I have seen Christians who had standards and convictions at one time throw them all out and begin living like the world lives.

One of our greatest challenges in life is to choose our friends wisely.  I am glad that I do have one friend who sicks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), and who loves at all times (Proverbs 17:7).   He proved His love by dying for me.  We can’t go wrong when the Lord Jesus becomes our closest friend.

Bruce Collins

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