Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20 ESV)
It’s natural to adopt the mannerisms of those whom we admire. I’ve caught myself speaking with a fake British accent after watching the BBC baking show.
But can wisdom be acquired simply by proximity over time?
Do we gain understanding by living side-by-side with others, watching how they interact, serve, love, live?
Today’s verse says, YES.
I believe my generous tendencies are due to observing my mother give so freely. I open our home to strangers, because my parents welcomed people so willingly into theirs.
It’s not only wisdom which can be gained by close interaction. Proverbs 13:20 warns us companionship with those whose choices are unwise will also rub off on us.
When I was a child, my brothers stole from a candy store and I went right along with them and took a handful and pocketed it. Later, my step-father made us all go back to confess and return the uneaten candy and pay the storekeeper for what we had taken.
We, humans, are easily influenced by the actions of others.
But, Jesus was a friend to sinners. He kept company with the outcast and those whom society would classify as fools. Is it wise to follow in these footsteps?
We are called to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. We’ve been called to love the outcast, to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and to make disciples of all nations.
If our closest companion is Jesus Christ, and we are led by his indwelling Holy Spirit, we can be free from concern. It is God who is at work in us, and will complete the good work he began in us. (Philippians 1:6 ESV) God is the one who has predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son, so Jesus will be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 ESV)
Therefore, let us walk with Jesus Christ together, and leave the outcome to our Father in heaven.