I believe in the Bible wholeheartedly. I believe that the words in it were physically written by men but were inspired by God himself. I believe the verse in 2 Timothy 3:16 that says, "all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." So when the creator of the universe, the one who knows how many stars are in the sky and how many hairs are on my head, tells me something is true - you had better believe that I trust that He knows better than I do. I would be a fool to not take his advice.
If you are struggling spiritually or emotionally, there is one particular verse in the Bible that, if you take it to heart, will change you for the better. It’s found in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and it says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." It’s so simple yet so difficult.
“Do not be misled.” In other words, don’t fool yourself. You may think that you are strong enough to make sure the influence is going the right way, but God says don’t do it. Satan is very crafty and uses all sorts of tactics to get into your mind and your heart. Even trusted friends who don’t share your faith can easily mislead you down paths that you don’t want to be on.
“Bad company” Most people would agree that drug dealers, liars, and thieves wouldn’t be the best people to hang out with - that’s not a difficult conclusion to come to. But what if bad company is referring to the organized sports team that doesn’t prioritize God and keeps you or your kids away from all spiritual activities? Or what if it is referring to that man or woman who is SO sweet and treats you SO well and is SO close to believing in God but is also SO attractive that you can’t keep your hands off each other? Or what if bad company is referring to your own family? Maybe it’s a father, mother, son, daughter, or even a grandparent who drains all positivity and joy from everyone around them. Bad company is ANY person or group of people who distract you from moving forward in your walk with God.
“Corrupts good morals.” Notice that the verse didn’t say that bad company corrupts people who already have questionable morals and just aren‘t strong enough to withstand the temptation. It says that bad company corrupts GOOD morals. People who are living good lives and are well intentioned are being ruined every day by choosing to keep bad company. The wisest man who ever lived (King Solomon) was drawn away from God by women who weren’t believers. I’ve seen the most enthusiastic and passionate men and women be brought to literal ruin by so called friends who slowly began pulling them away from spiritual people.
I know it’s a difficult teaching to digest. Nobody wants to give up relationships with people who are fun. Nobody wants to cause strife within the family or sacrifice romance for the sake of Godliness. But God calls us to an extreme lifestyle if we are serious about being one of his followers. I was watching a video last night and the teacher in the video was talking about giving things up for God. He said that these things that God is calling us to give up that are so difficult end up being the very things that would destroy us anyway. We just need to trust that He is smarter than we are.
I’m not some sort of elitist or self-righteous person who doesn’t speak to people who aren’t Christians, don’t get me wrong. But there is a difference between having casual relationships with people and fellowshipping or binding yourself to bad company. I am at a place now where I see the benefit of surrounding myself with people whose spirits and minds are in tune with things deeper than the superficial things this world has to offer.
The apostle Paul, in the end of Romans tells a group of believers that he longs to be with them and be refreshed. If you are struggling with life and spirituality, try surrounding yourself with people who refresh your spirit instead of corrupting it.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:1-3