1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived; “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
The Amplified Bible records his verse as: Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.
Are your friends building you up or dragging you down? Regardless of what you endeavor to do in life, whether it be in your personal goals, the workplace, business partnerships or church affiliations, you need people around you who will encourage you in the right decisions for you to be successful. People who are supportive are very important to us in whatever we are trying to do. When my children were growing up if there was someone they thought they wanted to be friends with and they didn’t think I would approve of that association they would always try to tell me that they could help that person by witnessing of their faith to them. But in reality that is harder done than said and God’s word always rings true….as one translations says “bad company corrupts good morals”. (NAS)
Paul encourages us to make friendships that will lift us up and not drag us down. The people that we associate with will always have some kind of an impact on our lives. We are instructed by Jesus to be light in the darkness and salt to the world, but when the world becomes our best friends we will see them pull us down to their way of thinking instead of us pulling them up to a better life. It is important in the life of a believer to be a light to those who are walking around in darkness, but not to let our light be put out by their darkness. When we make friendships with those who do not believe and they become our bosom buddies we will have a problem in standing strong in the midst of storms, influencing people for Jesus Christ, and encouraging ourselves in the way of the Lord.
The world is described by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as this:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Paul said to “turn away” from people that have the character and nature of the world! There is a whole list of character traits listed in that portion of scripture that we are warned to stay away from. Do you know people who exhibit this type of character? Are they among your “best friends”? Jesus prayed for those who would follow after them that even though they would be in the world that they would not be of the world, but that His Father would keep them from the evil one because they would be living in and among the world that is caught up in the sway of the wicked prince of the power of the air. (John 17:9-17)
Peter called people like himself in 2 Peter 1:1 as people of “like precious faith”. These are the people that will encourage you to stand firm in your faith during seasons of difficulties. People of “like precious faith” will be those who will gather around you and hold your arms up when you are struggling through a trial. These are the types of people who will speak the truth in love instead of letting you wallow in self-pity and discouragement. They will always encourage you to look up unto God instead of focusing on the problems in life! You will be encouraged to believe God instead of the negativity that is going on around you by people of “like precious faith”!
2 Corinthians 6:11-18 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said? “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean. And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
You can be restricted in your walk with the Lord through the affections that you have for those that you embrace as friends. If you are in close communion with unbelievers it will affect your spiritual life. We are commanded to share God’s love and salvation with those around us, but if unbelievers are your best friends then there will be a problem with your ability to lead them to Christ. Eventually the character and nature of those that we “hang around with” will rub off on us. Of course, if you are married to an unbeliever I encourage you to be the salt and light to that person and love unconditionally so he/she will see that God is real and have a desire for the same relationship with the Lord that you have. The point I am trying to make today is that our close associations, outside of marriage and family, will either lift us up to new heights in our relationship with the Lord, or pull us down to the lows of the world. The Message Bible says it this way: “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself.” The term “link up” shows that this is more than just a casual friendship. When you “link up” with someone you are joining with them. A casual acquaintance is one that you know and speak to when you see them, but when you “link up” with someone you have made them a friend that you commune with on a regular basis.
Father, I come before You this morning lifting up those who may be discouraged by what is going on around them. I ask You to help them see that their relationships affect their quality of life. I pray that they will seek You for good, healthy relationships. Bring them into right relationship with both You and those around them. If they are into associations that will bring them down then help them to see that and to make the changes in their lives that will encourage good, solid, like precious faith friendships. Thank You, Father, for showing us the way that we are to take in our relationships. May we be the light shining into the darkness around us that leads people to Jesus. May He be seen in our lives so that others will know that the difference in us is You. I pray that as we go about our daily lives that those in the world will be drawn to Jesus through us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.