Monday, January 9, 2023

Beware of Ungodly Friends (Proverbs 1:10-19)

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent" (Prov. 1:10).

The first thing Solomon does in his instruction of the young is to warn them against evil companions. As Psalm 1 says, a true man of God does not “sit in the seat of mockers” or “stand in the way of sinners,” but he delights in the law of God. Solomon understood that the most influential distraction in a young person’s life is his peers. The 18th-century English pastor John Angell James wrote, “the example of our companions will exert a plastic influence in the formation of our own character, slow and silent, perhaps, but irresistible and successful: and this influence will be in proportion to the love and esteem we cherish for them.… The example of a beloved companion is omnipotent, more especially if he be a sinful one, because a bad model finds in the depravity of our nature, something that prepares it to receive the impression. One evil companion will undo in a month all that parents and teachers have been laboring for years to accomplish.”

The mistake many Christian parents make in allowing their children to associate with wayward companions is they assume their children have been so instructed in godliness that their influence will prevail over that of their ungodly friends. This is naive and dangerous. Such parents are forgetting basic human nature—it is prone to sin. The influence of ungodly friends too often will far outweigh the influence a godly child might have on them.

Solomon warns us not to set foot on the path of those who intend to sin. Do not toy with sin and expect to turn from it in a moment. Every step taken down this road is one step closer to destruction. A young person often does not look to where the path is going. Instead, he rationalizes that he will only go so far with his ungodly friends and then turn back. In doing this his tender conscience will slowly become hardened. “Who can stop himself in the down-hill road?” Bridges asks. “One sin prepares for another, pleads for it, nay, even makes it necessary for concealment.”

We must all be wary of companions who would lead us off the path of godliness. Those who walk with the wise will be wise, but those who walk with fools will be destroyed. Let us, then, heed the advice of Solomon and refrain from the company of fools.

Who are your friends? Do you have any friends that lead you more into sin than challenge you to holiness? If you do, God says you must end such friendships. If you need to break off an ungodly influence, ask God for the grace and wisdom to do so in a way that will honor Him.