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The Company We Keep Can Build or Break Character


In 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Paul taught the Corinthian church–” Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” It is true as the old saying goes: “If you hang with dogs, you will get fleas.” The ways of the world are sinful, for Satan is the ruler of the world. From the moment we are born, our environment influences our development and behavior. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle is the founder of Aristotelian Virtue Theory; a philosophy that proposes we acquire virtue through practice. There is Scripture that supports this idea, found in Proverbs 18:21–” Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” This bit of wisdom is explaining that whatever we speak can have a negative or positive influence on ours and other’s lives, and we will reap whatever we sow. If we plant seeds of life, we can expect a thriving garden. If we plant seeds of death, we can expect weeds choking out the life of our garden.



Proverbs 27:17 teaches–” As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Generally, the word “countenance” refers to facial expression but in this context, it would relate to moral support and emotional expression. This would mean that we should surround ourselves with the “sharp” and not butter knives. Throughout our lives we all struggle with different temptations, pain, and tribulations. Some have been raised in broken homes, some became addicts or got into trouble with the law, some have lost loved ones, or some have been victims of abuse. There are some that never even experienced these trials and chose to live selfish lives and found Christ though searching for the wrong attention or giving into fleshly desires then later regretting it. Whatever our vice or what we were made victim to, when Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. That freedom came at a price when Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, He died so we could be free from the bondage of sin. Romans 6:23–” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”



If you were an alcoholic and in recovery, would it make sense to hang out in a bar? If your friends know you gave up drugs, but they light up or shoot up in front of you, were they really your friends? If you have had past issues with promiscuity, would you go to the club? The answer is simple and obvious and found in Proverbs 6:28–” Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared?” If you play with fire, you will get burned. Backsliding is not a good thing although nearly everyone is guilty of it. There is an opprobrium (misconduct) that sets the unbelievers apart from the believers, and it defines their character. The “lukewarm” and the “fence-straddlers” are not who you want to be breaking bread with, but fellowship with other Christians will strengthen you and through edification it will build more character. This is not to say that you cannot minister to the lost and the broken (we are told to cleanse the lepers,) but cleanse yourself out before you go seeking to comfort those that suffer the same things you got comfort for. You do not want to practice hypocrisy; you want to practice good virtues; this is another word for “the fruits of the spirit.” The greatest of these gifts is LOVE and in John 13:35–” By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” The world will know a Christian by their LOVE. Love is a strength of character, so surround yourselves with those that know it and practice it.



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