We are currently in a series called #WISDOM at The Rescue Church. We are using this series to study the remarkable book of Proverbs. Proverbs was written by the wisest man who has ever lived (next to Jesus), named King Solomon. Proverbs consists of short phrases with profound meaning – similar to a Twitter feed!
This past week, Chase Riber preached on Proverbs 13:20:
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
If you show me your friends, I can show you your future! Who you allow into the inner circle of your life matters. Chase broke this down by asking if you have the right THEY around you. If you want to walk with the wise, you should find the following characteristics in those closest to you –
THEY are TOUGH (Prov. 17:17; 27:17)
The people in your life MUST be tough in multiple ways. First of all, they need to be able to walk with you through tough times. All of us have seasons in life when we experience profound anguish. Some call this the dark night of the soul, others simply called it the wall. You will reach a point in your life (multiple times for most of us) that you are utterly broken and you feel as if God has abandoned you. This has been the experience of saints throughout the centuries.
You NEED friends who are tough enough to endure these dark times.
Second, your friends need to be tough WITH you. They need to have the courage and ability to hold you accountable to Scripture. All of us are blind at times to our own sin and hypocrisy, following in the steps of the Pharisees. In order to grow in holiness and purity, we need friends who are not afraid to call us out in our blindness.
THEY are HONEST (Eph. 4:25)
Those closest to you need to walk in honesty and integrity. If you are surrounding yourself with people who consistently lie, exaggerate, and puff themselves up – You WILL follow suit. Your close friends need to be honest with you, in regards to YOUR sin and their OWN sin.
Our natural tendency is to shroud ourselves in secrecy. Our anger flares up any time we feel our privacy is threatened. If you want to walk with the wise, you need to sacrifice this impulse. Your life needs to be opened up in order for God to use your friends to sanctify you.
THEY are ENCOURAGING (Heb. 3:13; 10:24)
The majority of people are overwhelmed with a constant stream of negativity. Many of our own thoughts consist of condemnation and judgment. Our self-talk is a barrage of remarks we say to ourselves that would be considered slander if we spoke them out loud to other people. Satan uses our cynical thoughts in an attempt to deceive us about our true identity in Christ.
Your friends need to encourage you with their words, actions, and conduct! The power of LIFE and DEATH is in the tongue; are your friends speaking life into you or death? Your friends have profound influence over your outlook of life – Choose friends who will use this incredible ability for your encouragement!
THEY are YIELDED (Matt. 22:37; 1 Cor. 11:1)
This is by far the most importance characteristic that should be evident in your friends’ lives. The lives of your THEY should be ones that yield in humility to the God of the universe. The lives of your friends should be in submission to God’s authority.
If your friends are in a constant state of rebellion towards God, you will follow them into rejecting Him for all eternity.
All of the other characteristics – toughness, encouraging, and honesty – should be the fruit of a life yielded to God. Practically, they should be exercising these practical steps for spiritual growth on a regular basis. If those closest to you are yielding to God, YOU will become wise.
T.H.E.Y = TOUGH, HONEST, ENCOURAGING, YIELDED
What about you? Are YOU the right THEY in the lives of your friends? Do you display these characteristics? I believe all of us fall short in at least one of these areas. Personally, my unrelenting sarcasm causes me to fall short consistently when it comes to encouraging those around me.
What change do YOU need to make? Submit to the Word of God and begin today.