Bad Company

I'd been in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for almost six years by the time I came to Christ.  Shortly after I was baptized, Bob Eckhart, the man who had led me to Christ, told me that I needed to leave town. I was a little taken back. Everyone I was close to at that point in my life was in Chapel Hill. Why in the world would I leave my “home” and all my friends?  

Bob said, “Lon, don't you understand that every relationship you have here, all your old drug buddies, all your old drinking buddies, all your old girlfriends, all your fraternity brothers -- don't you understand that every relationship you have in this town is enticing you to sin and disobey God? All those relationships are not going to help you grow in the Lord. You need to get out of this town and make a deliberate effort to build friendships and a team of people around you who walk with Christ.”  

So, in 1971, after hitchhiking around the country for a few months, I ended up settling in Washington D.C. and I set out to do exactly as Bob had advised me to do. I began seeking out people whose spiritual walk was higher than mine, better than mine, and would challenge me. I surrounded myself with these people.  

Bob gave me the best piece of advice anyone has ever given me. And he was so right! If I had stayed where I was with all those old friendships and relationships, it would have been very difficult for me to grow as a believer and a much greater chance that I would have fallen back into my old sinful and destructive behaviors. The bottom line is who you hang around will have a huge impact on your spiritual life. Charles Spurgeon once said, “A believer never pulls the world up. The world always pulls a believer down.”  

Of course, we all have acquaintances who do not follow Jesus, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about guarding our hearts and not letting those people become the influencers of our lives. Friends, it’s a real simple formula. Bad company promotes bad morals, good company promotes good morals and godly company promotes godly morals.  

If you are a follower of Christ are you deliberately seeking to keep company with godly people? People who will challenge you in your walk with God. People who will confront you about non-Christlike behavior in your life. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.”  1 Corinthians 15:33.

So I am here on behalf of God to say to you what Bob said to me, which is, to intentionally seek out people who are sold out for Jesus Christ. People who are ahead of you in their walk and make those Christ followers the influencers in your life.

Was it hard to lose all those friendships, leave Chapel Hill and start over? Of course. But if we are serious about our relationship with Jesus, we need to be willing to make those changes.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3  

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