Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Pat Morley, the founder of the highly effective men’s ministry, Man in the Mirror, recounted a conversation about friendship.
Once I boasted to an acquaintance, quite sincerely, that I had hundreds of friends. Without pause he said, “No you don’t. You may have met hundreds of people, but there’s no way you can really know more than a handful of people. You’d be lucky if you had three real friends.”
At first I was offended that he thought he knew so much about my situation. But as I reflected on what he said, I realized that I had a thousand acquaintances but, at that moment in time, less than three genuine friends. I’ve worked on this area of my life, and today I believe I have five real friends including my wife.
Morley is right. Friendship is a rare and precious gift. Friendship can be hard. It can be frustrating. It will cost us time and energy, but friendship can be so good. It can be a source of incredible pleasure and encouragement and comfort. Friendship is a priceless gift of God.
But friendship is much more. We become, to a large extent, like our friends. This may not be true of acquaintances, but with our friends, we tend to become like them over the years. We tend to adopt their values, their attitudes, their convictions, their interests. For good or ill, we will become like our friends.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
If friendship is so life-shaping, how vital it is that we choose our friends wisely. (How vital it is that our kids choose their friends wisely!)
What do you look for in a friend? What impresses you? Is it money? Charismatic personality? A great sense of humor? Unusual giftedness? These are not bad things, but they are not the traits you look for in a friend.
Rather, the Bible says: Look for wise friends. Look for friends with godly wisdom, friends who understand what really matters in life. Look for friends who know God and walk with God.
For God tells you, one day you will become like the friends you choose.