Pastor J’s Blog 2010-01-14 03:49:00

The Good Life – Be Careful Who You Run With

Pr 1:10-19

My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.If they say, "Come along with us; let's lie in wait for someone's blood,let's waylay some harmless soul; let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse" — my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves! Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it. NIV

I don’t remember many of the school assemblies I had the “privilege” to sit through, but there is one that I shall never forget. The auditorium was filled with carefree and mischievous high school students. Sitting on the stage facing us were five prisoners, accompanied by armed guards. I’m not sure who was more afraid, them or us.

One by one they came to the microphone and shared their story. One was incarcerated for robbery, another for assault, another for drug related charges, etc. etc. The program was called Scared Straight. The goal was that these prisoners would essentially “scare” their listeners into good behavior. Sorry to say, it didn’t work.

What did stand out to me that day was the way their stories all began. All five from different backgrounds and different eras of time, guilty of differing crimes, began their story with the same phrase: “I was just hanging out with some buddies…”. Before they were guilty of the crimes for which they were serving time, they were guilty of a foolish decision - they were running with the wrong crowd!

In search of The Good Life, Proverbs teaches that we all must guard who we allow close to us. More than perhaps anyone realizes it is the people close to us who define us. Those people that we run with have an unbelievable amount of influence in our lives. Many people have done things they would “never do” except the people they were with led them down a path of destruction. Ironically, we often run with them thinking we will influence them. Reality shows that they are influencing us.

The lesson is clear: run with people of positive character and they will positively effect you. Run with people of negative character and they will negatively effect you. Paul wrote “do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." (1 Cor 15:33). Did you read that? It doesn’t matter how good your character is, if you run with the wrong crowd, you get corrupted!

Dear Lord,

Reading your word we realize the need for wisdom as we choose the people we keep close to us. Help us as we choose our friends to look for people who display the characteristics of Christ. Keep us from those who would bring destruction into our lives. Surround us with the righteous, that our lives may always bring glory to You!

Amen

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