March 25, 2017
READ: Proverbs 22:17-25
Don’t . . . associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them (vv.24-25).
Ahead of me, two rows of cars waited for the traffic light to turn from red to green. Beside us, in the turn lane, a third line of vehicles awaited a green arrow so they could turn left.
The turn-lane arrow turned green. Our light remained red. But both vehicles in front of me (the two cars not in the turn lane) proceeded as if the green arrow applied to them! The horn-honking from opposing traffic was, shall we say, emphatic. Both drivers had been influenced by the driver in the turn lane—and each other—without a clue that their light was still red.
Whether intentional or otherwise, we do influence each other. And how easily we’re swayed when uncertain of the truth!
Among the “thirty sayings” he left for his son, King Solomon said this about influence: “Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart” (Proverbs 22:17-18). Then he noted the importance of choosing good friends. “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul” (vv.24-25).
It’s important to be discerning when choosing friends.At times, however, even trusted friends will display negative behaviours. So whose lead should we follow? Well, it’s hard to go wrong when we keep our eyes on the One who is the TRuth. As the apostle Paul said, “Imitate me just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The more we follow leaders with integrity, heed wise counsel and surround ourselves with friends who truly care about us, the less likely we’ll be swayed by a complaining colleague, popular opinion or our own doubtful heart. Jesus can shape and lead us through others who are close to Him.
365-day plan: 1 Samuel 14:1-23
Note the chain of influence leading to disaster in Genesis 3:1-7. How might it have been prevented?
How do I react when I’m around someone who constantly complains or gossips? What would others say about my influence on them?