Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm - Proverbs 13:20 ESV
One of the things that I worry about with my kids is the type of people that they hang around with. I know from personal experience that the people that you associate with can have a positive or negative influence on you. I am aware of a number of people that possessed an enormous amount of talent and potential, but were unable to realize it because they were impacted by the negative influence of others. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in athletics. I was having a conversation recently with one of my best friends (a positive influence) and we were talking about some of the best players from his area that had made it to the NFL. It was a significant and impressive number of individuals. On the flip side, the number that should have made it surpassed the ones that were fortunate enough to make it. Some of these athletes experienced injuries that kept them from going to the next level, but the overwhelming majority had the talent and ability but were derailed by making bad choices that resulted from being involved with the wrong crowd.
How many of you reading this can identify with the individuals above? How many of you, because of the people that you surrounded yourself with, were kept from fulfilling your God given purpose and using your God given talent to glorify Him? On another note, how many of you, because of the people that you surrounded yourself with that were positive, made all the difference between you succeeded or failing? I know that when I look back at the times that I felt that I was truly tapping into the things that made me unique and was using my God given skills, I had positive people in my circle of influence. Like many of you, I had to learn the principle of addition by subtraction. I know on the surface that sounds counter intuitive, but it truly works and is something that each of us needs to incorporate in our lives to operate at optimum levels. How do we do this? One of the first things that you can do is to start by looking at whether those people that are a part of your inner circle share the same values as you. If not, you may need to consider moving on, especially if they are not willing to adopt Christ centered values and way of thinking. Secondly, identify those that have a positive influence on you and make a conscious effort to spend more time in fellowship with them. As the late CS Lewis so eloquently stated, 'the next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.' Implementing these steps will go a long way in doing what today's scripture advocates.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.