He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
As a parent I cannot count the times I’ve spoken to my kids about the importance of good friends, teaching them that they become like the people they hang out with. My wife and I often pray that our teenage kids be influencers among their peers, and not the influenced.
Is it any surprise that this principle applies to our lives as we grow older, and hopefully wiser? We become like the people that we associate with; we become like the people that we hang out with.
This does not mean that we avoid completely friends or family that do not seek the things of God (these friendships are valuable and an opportunity to be “salt and light”), but that we balance our friendships with a healthy dose of walking with people of godly influence. As we rub shoulders with godly men and women, something rubs off on us.
The use of the word ‘walk’ here can be substituted with the word ‘live,’ and is reflected in the following verses in the New Testament book of Ephesians:
Walk worthy of the calling you have received (4:1).
You must no longer live (or walk) as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking (4:17).
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (5:1-2).
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (5:15-16).
Living the Spirit-filled life includes walking alongside and learning from Spirit-filled people. We are called to walk with people in the community of the faithful. This is a valuable resource which enables us to grow in our relationship with God, and become the people God wants us to be.