As we begin 2016, many of us have set goals with the hopes of becoming a better person. When I served as a prison chaplain, I gave a pre-release class to men who would soon get out. They too were setting goals with the hope of becoming better people. One of the things I stressed with them was not going back to the “home boys” with the goal that somehow they would change the “homies” into good guys. Over the years, the exact opposite always occurred: The men who went back to the “home boys” eventually became like them again and often would end up back in the drug or crime world…and eventually back in prison.
That seems to be one of those great truths of life: You will become more and more like the people you associate with the most.
If you want to better yourself, you need to be around people that will help you do that. In sports, if you want to improve your game, you have to play with people that are better than you. In life there is a parallel. If someone wants to become a better person, they would do well to look for friends who will challenge them to improve spiritually, morally, and in every area of life (or at the least, not influence them in the other direction!).
“You can’t soar with the eagles if you’re walking with the turkeys!” Some wise sage said that…sometime in the past…someplace unknown to me, but there is a very important truth there.
Many people really want to change their lives for the better, but they can’t seem to make much progress. There are many issues involved with this, but one huge factor is the people that are most influencing their lives. Who do we call our “friends” and who do we go to for advice? Ultimately, there are only two kinds of advice…”godly” or “ungodly”. The advice we receive will either lead us on the right path or down the wrong road (sometimes the right path is akin to a steep mountain climb and the wrong road is a freeway that is so easy to travel on!).
When you are in need of advice, bear in mind that everyone will have some for you! Everyone else can tell you how you should live and what you should do. The real key is who is giving the advice?
Who are you going to walk with in 2016? Here is some final food for thought from Psalm 1:
1 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.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.