There is a biblical proverb which has often caught my attention:
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
Walking with the wise refers to on-going intimate fellowship with those who live in God’s world according to God’s will revealed in God’s word.
In contrast, a companion of fools is someone who chooses a circle of friends who reject God’s word and live according to their own will.
The person who “walks with the wise” gains wisdom not as a result of some kind of spiritual osmosis but rather through the sustained impact of an enduring friendship characterised by godly rebuke, encouragement, correction, example, exhortation, reminders and comfort.
On the other hand, a “companion of fools” inevitably suffers ruin (even eternal ruin) as a result of the constant, sometimes imperceptible, inevitable erosion of faith in God’s word via so-called friends’ worldly mockery, excuses, bawdiness, pride, denigration, flippancy and lack of self-control.
This does not mean that we should keep ourselves distant from those who choose folly. If we isolate ourselves from the world then we will never have the opportunity to be of any assistance to the world.
We should rather invest in deep, lasting relationships with godly brothers and sisters in Christ while we lovingly and prayerfully challenge worldly family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and enemies with lives and conversation marked by God’s wisdom.