(Prov 23:20,21 NLT) Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” This is the 17th Saying: an Admonition on Temperance. Solomon was both the richest and wisest man in the world, during the time he was in the earth. How much do you think an hour with Solomon would be worth? Or let’s fast-forward to today. How much do you think people would pay for a one on one hour-long session with Donald Trump, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett, or Mark Cuban? From a ministry perspective, how valuable would a one on one hour-long session with Bishop T.D. Jakes, Rev. Billy Graham, or Pastor Rick Warren be? These are people who are considered masters of their craft and time with them is extremely valuable. Why? Because those who would go to great lengths to be in their presence are doing so with the hope that their lives would be impacted; that something would rub off. That’s exactly what Solomon was talking about in chapter 13 when he said, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces” (13:20). Just like spending time with the wise and impact us positively, spending time with fools can (and will) impact us negatively. We all spend time with people daily that (whether we acknowledge it or not) are influencing our lives. So we better choose wisely when deciding whom to spend out time with.
In this verse Solomon warns us against spending out time with those who drink, eat, and sleep too much. His point is that these people lack self-control and their irresponsibleness will rub off on us if we spend too much time around them. Let me say it another way, don’t fool yourself into thinking that hanging with the wrong friends can’t derail you from God’s best for your life. If we choose the wrong friends will eventually travel down the wrong path. Countless people have wrecked their lives by connecting with the wrong crowd. However, there are clear advantages to choosing the right friends. Let’s look at a few:
1. You get the safety of wise counsel: Earlier in this series we learned: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). When you surround yourself with the right people, you will receive the right feedback when you bounce your ideas off of them. Said another way, when you are around the right people you will hear the right things!
2. Your character is protected: In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth he was addressing a myriad of issues within their church. The church had allowed unruly conduct to spread like wildfire. Paul addressed the issues in many ways, but one thing he said that I want to highlight is: “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” ” (1st Corinthians 15:33). He did not mince words. He was clear that if you associate with corrupt people you will eventually be corrupted.
3. You remain sharp: One of the greatest benefits of having Godly friends is that they keep you sharp. You are able to grow together. Later in Proverbs Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (27:17). If you want to remain sharp, you must surround yourself with sharp people. A true God-friend can help keep you sharp in the Spirit, letting you know when you are getting off track. We all need that!
4. They make you better: When Michael Jordan stepped on to the court he made every one of his teammates better, because he stretched them to do more, he patterned excellence before them, and he assisted them in perfecting their skills. The same happens when you surround yourself with the “Michael Jordans” of your field.
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for blessing me to choose my friends wisely. I refuse to surround myself with undisciplined, uncontrolled, and irresponsible people who will pull me down their wayward ways. I rather choose to surround myself with masters of my craft, with those who are worthy of emulation. I trust that the Godly characteristics I see in their lives will rub off on me and I will become better for it. I surround myself with the right people, I hear the right things, I receive the right influences, and I become the right person – the one You desire for me to be! I declare this by faith! l In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!