“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20.
It cannot be a coincidence this morning: Two of the three devotional reads for me related to the influence of parents. I was drawn back to something my mom used to drive me crazy with…”If you hang around with those people, you will become just like them!” I hated that statement. I was such a rebel that I chose to resist it with every fiber of my being. “I will not be a statisitic,” I would say. Well…she was right. 🙂
The facts bear themselves out in life. With limited exceptions, we gain much from the people we asociate with. Hang out with complainers, you’ll soon become one and may not even know it. Hang out with dreamers, you’ll be a dreamer. Hang out with foolish people…and yep, you will become foolish. Finally, choose to hang around with wise people and you will be wise.
Many years ago, Jodi and I were taught by some close friends the positive implications of this verse…only our friends did not put it this way particularly. They told us to take our “counsel” from people who were already where we wanted to be, not where we were presently or where we had come from. In other words, choose to hang around people who inspire you to become more.
Doing so has its own bag of challenges. You will be constantly aware of your shortcomings. You will be ever mindful of the things that others have mastered that you are wrestling with. You will struggle at times. Many of the people where you are will tell you that this adversity is a reason to turn back. ‘You’re not one of them. Come hang out with us and just enjoy medocrity!” (Oh if the temptation were only that easy to spot).
If you want to become more, find someone who already is and choose to discipline yourself to hang out there. For me as a pastor, I have a few guys that I think have it nailed in some areas. I like to hang around them. I know I don’t contribute much to their lives, but I think I do in some ways and they help me tremendously. As a dad, I have a few role models as well. As a husband…yep, there too are some wise voices.
The truth is, you glean from your surroundings whether you want to or not…so you may as well choose surroundings that look like where you want to go.