The Company You Keep--by Timothy A. Southall
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The old saying, "You are the company you keep," is very true and applies to Christians and their friends. Our friends and those with whom we keep company on a regular basis influence our lives. We are to stand firm in our faith, guarding against those who, in one way or another, hinder our relationship with Christ.

Psalm 1:1 tells us, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." We are to spread the gospel to these people, but we are not to become like them or be a usual in their presence so that it adversely affects our walk with Christ.

Paul tells us that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). Are those we call friends Christians or seeking Christ? If not, do we conform to their ways in order to remain friends? Are we conforming to traditions of men in order to be accepted?

Christians are warned not to be yoked together with unbelievers. Those who are righteous have nothing in common with the wicked (2 Corinthians 6:14). This is especially true when we are seeking a spouse. Christians are to marry believers of sound doctrine and not "settle" for an unbeliever hoping to convert him or her later. Christians are the light of this world and are to have nothing to do with those of darkness. One is either of God or of Satan.

When Christians come into contact with unbelievers, we are not to have a "holier than thou" attitude. Rather, we are to impart the gospel message in love. Remember, Jesus did, indeed, fellowship with sinners. However, it was not in order to be part of them; it was in order to convert them. No matter what, we are to speak, act, and keep our thoughts like Christ's. If we take a stand as Christians, we will either make others feel a need to seek Christ, or they will no longer desire our company. We are not to lower our standards in order to gain friends or approval. Are those with whom you keep company a friend or foe of Christ?

Copyright © 2001 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.