Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Who surrounds you? Do your closest friends spur you on in your spiritual journey or distract you? In the words of author Liz Weisman, do your associates multiply you or diminish you? Since we are affected far more by people than we probably realize, it’s important to consider the influencers in our lives.
For example, my daughter recently relayed a story about someone who suggested ways to live within a budget. One of the top recommendations was to choose frugal friends. It’s hard to resist lavish lifestyles when surrounded by people who think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars for a night of entertainment. It’s tempting to compromise when our values make us the odd man out. On the other hand, hanging out with folks who share our ideals reinforces our goals. This proves true, whether found in Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or the local church.
When I’m around people who possess a zeal for God, who fight the good fight of faith, who pursue righteousness and endure hardship, I want to be more zealous, faithful and persevering. When I have friends who would rather die than forsake the Lord, my devotion to him is increased. When I see people who have been hurt and betrayed, yet live lifestyles of forgiveness, I’m inspired to get over petty grievances.
But what if we find ourselves in a season where we are somewhat isolated from multipliers? What if we’re living in the last homely house on the edge of darkness? How do we keep shining? Do the next best thing…
Read books. Study the lives and teachings of beloved followers of Christ. For me, Mere Christianity, Ruthless Trust, Prodigal God and How Shall We Then Live are just a few trusted companions. Devotionals like My Utmost for His Highest and Streams in the Desert have carried me through valleys and propelled me beyond myself. Even Christian fiction reminds me hope remains a real commodity in troubled times.
Of course our greatest friend is Jesus. The greatest book- his book. He has placed us on the earth and instructed us to complete the work he began. In our brief moment, let’s choose friends who along with us multiply his presence and so advance his kingdom.