33 Don’t be fooled: “Bad friends will ruin good habits.” Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthian Church Chapter 15 verse 33 Easy to Read Version
They say the friends you keep tell people a whole lot on your character.My mom used to tell me,” If you hang around vicious dogs, you’ll get bitten.” She used to let us know things in stories. She had wise instruction when it came to hanging with the “wrong crowd”.
In the same way, the Bible tells us to be careful who we bring into our inner circle. Some people whom we call Christians, my be the devil incarnate, metaphorically speaking.
There was a time I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. My parents knew that I was. My dad was smart enough to know my character. He knew that I was a pretty decent kid but had he not transferred me to a different middle and high school, my outcome may have been different.
You see, I grew up a few blocks away from a gang neighborhood. Back then like most people who hang out with friends from the neighborhood, you don’t see it as a gang. You see your friends as just that, friends. Don’t get me wrong, I hung out with everyone. I liked talking to every type of kid out there. I always have, always will. But during my middle school years, I was getting taller, stronger and I played every sport I could. This made the guys in the neighborhood call me anytime there was some kind of trouble. I didn’t realize that what they were doing was using me because I was strong and could fight. I thought they just respected me because I could do those things a little better than other.
This of course got me into trouble at school. To a point that I was blindsided by a bully because of my reputation. My so called “homies” did not help. All those times I had their backs. I realized something after the fact. That I needed to find new friends. Funny thing was, the kids I spoke to at school and in practice, had always been there for me. My transition back into their group was smooth. Why? Because to them, I had never left their group. They though I was just hanging with the wrong crowd because I was making my rounds to their group. Somehow, my true friends knew I would come back to them.
My dad saw the direction I was going and before it got out of hand, he had me go to private school. He also continued having me in every sport I was able to handle. I remember going from school basketball practice to soccer practice and then to martial arts. This made for a long day but at the end of it all, I realized I was a better person for it.
Looking back now, I know my dad was looking out for me without letting me know he was. God is the same way. He works not in mysterious ways but behind the scenes in our lives. Always protecting our spirits. Never allowing us to get to a point that we can’t come back from.
With this only being February, I would like to invite you to get to know God. Not in the mysterious way that the world thinks but in an intimate way where you know that you know He is there with you. Like my mom and dad, God is always watching you. Not to catch you in something but to let you know He loves you and wants the very best for you. Allow Him to work in your life. Start today by asking Jesus to forgive you of everything you have done wrong in your life so far. Any hang ups, any wrongs you have committed. Commit them to the one that can keep you from doing things that you are not supposed to do. Just like the “friends” I thought I had, there are people and things that are ruining your habits and turning them into bad habits.
Now that I have a relationship with Christ, I guard myself even more. There are people who I know I need to continue our friendship. These friends encourage me, counsel me, help me… There are people who I know that I have had to let go off. They are decent men who love God but we are not going in the same direction anymore. It’s not because I don’t like them. It is because they are stuck in bad habits or lifestyles or in memories past, keeping them anchored down and drowning them mentally, spiritually or even physically.
You know what they say about people who are drowning? When you go and swim through the storm to help them out, it is in those times they are the most dangerous because they are in survival mode. They are not thinking straight and fear has gripped them to the point of panic. If you speak to lifeguards or anyone who has found themselves trying to save a drowning person, they will tell you how dangerous those that are drowning are Because they can grab on to you and never let go. While in this blind panic mode, they will drown you trying to survive themselves. Before you know it, both of you have sunk into the dark ocean’s deep, both slipping into eternity.
Sometimes, letting go of people for a bit will allow them to seek the One that can truly help them. Sometimes, you being there for them is a hindrance. This is where having a true relationship with God will help you discern all these things, not magically but systematically and orderly. This is the way of God. He is very precise and orderly. He is the God of order, hence, He wants our lives to have that peaceful order which will makes us more productive in life.
I ask you today, to know that perfect and peaceful order. It will not mean you will no longer have storms in life. It just means that the captain of the ship you are in will guide you through the storms when you allow Him. It also means getting rid of bad and heavy baggage you’ve collected by keeping the bad friends in your life.
What are your bad friends? They don’t necessarily have to be made of flesh and blood…