In our continuing quest for divine wisdom, I have suggested, first, that we read Proverbs regularly and, second, that we gain the perspective of experienced, godly believers. We must also guard what we have.
- Choose your friends carefully.
My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”
My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.
Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net
In the sight of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors. (1:10–19)
The longer I live, the more careful I am with my choice of friends. Don’t get me wrong. I will offer my support and friendship to almost anyone. I am, however, choosy about whom I accept as close confidants, those people I allow to minister to me. And, because my time is precious, I elect to spend it with trustworthy people. Consequently, I have fewer close friends than I had in my youth. But these are deeper friendships, truly treasured relationships.
As Solomon counseled us, do not consent to relationships that drag you down, interfere with your walk with God, or hinder your spiritual growth. Offer your friendship freely to those you hope to influence, but avoid people who “ambush their own lives” (v. 18). They will not be influenced; they will simply get you involved in counterproductive activities that keep wisdom at arm’s distance. You don’t need that. No one does.