Avoid Evil Company
son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”(Prov. 1:10).
According to Abraham Maslow, a humanistic psychologist,
the greatest longing of humanity is self-actualization,
the need for a feeling of self-worth. Maslow defines self-actualization:
Self-actualization is an ongoing process. Self-actualizing people are, with
one single exception, involved in a cause outside their own skin. They are
devoted; work at something, something very precious to them – some calling
or vocation, in the old sense, the priestly sense. When you select out for
careful study very fine and healthy people, strong people, creative people,
sagacious people…you get a different view of mankind (Accessed online at connect.net/georgen.maslow.htm).
For many, surrounding themselves with company fulfills
this longing. The media and popular culture promote the idea that popularity
is having a wide circle of friends, with which one enjoys the pleasures of life,
and is essential for leading a happy, fulfilling life.
the people around us are spiritually minded, such association
can be a positive thing. If the crowd is ungodly in nature,
however, it will be a detrimental experience. It is a well-known
fact that those we spend time with often exert the greatest
influence on our decisions. Satan and his infantry use
this knowledge to their advantage. Satan desires to surround
God’s children with worldly people at all times. When the
prince of darkness succeeds in this strategy, he will be
able to influence the decisions of Christians.
set down these words on parchment long ago – “My son, if
sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Prov. 1:10). Solomon
was a very educated man, but not from the leading philosophical
schools of the world. Solomon’s wisdom came from two sources.
First, it came from God’s divine hand (I Kgs. 3:5-14).
Second, Solomon was a star pupil in the well attended “school
of hard knocks.” Life experiences could be the best education
one can have. Solomon lived a life full of bitter experiences.
Instead of drowning in regret over them, he took steps
to ensure others could benefit from his mistakes. One would
do well to heed the advice Solomon offers after living
in a unique life of personal mishaps.
was in an excellent position, as we shall shortly see,
to offer insight and counsel about the danger of associating
with sinners. From early in his reign, Solomon’s quest
for political power and economic advantage led him to marry
foreign women. He became a pleasure seeker and a ladies’ man,
and because of his willingness to associate with idolaters,
he lost sight of the God he had so diligently served. These
women influenced his decisions, and like a snowball rolling
down a mountainside, Solomon was unable to reverse the
course he was traveling. Eventually, all Israel worshipped
false gods. Solomon himself was the center of the commotion.
Thankfully, he straightened out his life, for he tells
us in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “…Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man.”
Scriptures furnish us several reasons why we should avoid
evil company. I intend to point out several, in the hopes
you will see the folly of associating with the carnally
For Fear of Becoming an Enemy of God
James’ short epistle, he is concerned with giving Christians
practical advice for living a faithful life. He tells us “…know
ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with
God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world
is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4). The God we serve is all-powerful.
This world is in the palm of His hand. He can do anything
He wishes at any moment in time as long as it does not
contradict His nature. As God’s children, we should realize
the importance of worship and praise in maintaining fellowship
who wish to develop friendships with this world will find
themselves wrapped up in worldly things. When Christians
spend their time trying to impress the world, as opposed
to furthering the cause of Christ, they are creating enmity
with God. An ill will is present and they no longer have
the relationship with God that He desires for all people
to have. This is a dangerous bridge to cross. One, which
is missing a few planks.
faced with the decision of who we will be spending our
time with, let us heed the words of Proverbs 4:14-15: “Enter
not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way
of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and
pass away.” Solomon earnestly exclaims, “Do not even touch!” This
is much like a mother telling her young child to stay away
from a hot stove. The child does not understand the reasoning
behind the command until they touch it, but then it is
too late. Similarly, the damage caused by our disobedience
is severely painful. We would be far better off to walk
away at the beginning than to hang around and flirt with
trouble. As the Apostle Paul states, “…be not conformed
to this world” (Rom. 12:2). For fear of becoming an enemy
of God, we must stay clear of those with a carnal state
To Be Wise
some extent, every person wants to become wise. Wisdom
is a key for which many are diligently searching. The key,
when found, will unlock happiness, contentment and satisfaction
in this life. By fleeing the evil companionship of the
wicked and worldly, we begin to unlock the door to wisdom.
Solomon, again, offers a few thoughts on this subject, “He
that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion
of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20).
first step in becoming wise in one’s choice of friends
is to spend time with others who are wise. This prompts
one to ask the question, “Who is wise?” This world is full
of philosophers, psychologist, scientist, and people of
great intellectual prowess. Does the amount of education
a person has, however, make them wise? Certainly not! Those
who are “contending for the faith” and trying to please
God in everything they do, they are wise. Those obedient
to every command of the Higher Authority and striving each
day to take one step closer to Him are wise. Those living
a Christ-like life and trying to show others the way to
forgiveness and eternal paradise are wise. Those “growing
in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior” are wise. Wisdom
is the act of following the footsteps of Jesus and walking
along the straight and narrow path (Mat. 7:24-27).
people pay attention to those they surround themselves
with and are mindful of the road they are traveling. The
Word of God is a “lamp unto their feet and a light unto
their path”, clearly showing where they are going so they
will not stumble. They avoid immoral people because “the
way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what
they stumble” (Prov. 4:19). The wicked live in the darkness,
unable to see what they are getting into. The devil likes
the darkness because people in darkness cannot discern
right from wrong. The path is dangerous and the pitfalls
are plentiful when traveling in darkness. Again, to be
wise we must shun evil company.
They Will Turn Your Heart Away
next logical reason for avoiding company that is not morally
sound is that our heart will be turned away. The devil
would have us to become friends with the world so he can
turn our hearts away from the truth. We need not look far
to see this principle proven. The one whose advice we have
been studying experience this first hand.
had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred
concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. “For it
came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned
away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not
perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David
his father” (I Kgs. 11:3-4).
Solomon was busy playing the game of politics, he must
have thought in the back of his mind that these women he
took as wives would never be able to influence his religious
life. He believed he could make a difference in others’ decisions
without having to give any ground on his part. Therefore,
he went about doing whatever it took to be friends and
build alliances with the people of other nations. This
led to many marriages and relationships with women of other
cultures. It was not long before they talked him into disobedience
that was displeasing to God.
great king believed he could stand strong for Jehovah,
but temptation assaulted him on all sides. He gave in and
conceded to his wives demands. The thing that makes the
devil so successful is the variety and diversity of his
attacks. Just when you think you have his game plan figured
out, he comes at you from another direction holding a different
weapon in his hand.
“Bad Company Ruins Good Morals”
warning comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul. In First
Corinthians he writes, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company
ruins good morals’” (15:33, RSV). In one form or another,
this has become one of the most common proverbs used by
parents to instruct their children. Most parents care deeply
about their children and wish the best for them. They know
evil people will reap what they sow (Gal. 6:7-8) and, to
the best of their ability, parents want to make sure their
children avoid the harvest of the immoral.
people with whom we spend time will have an effect on who
we are and how we behave. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man
sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).
Just as an ironworker can turn a piece of cold steel into
artwork or an implement of war, those who surround us will
form us. In the presence of righteous people, it is easy
to follow what is just and holy. With corrupt people surrounding
us, what could have been a masterpiece will likely turn
into a monster. Too often, the influence of peers determines
which path we will travel. When friends entice us into
the broad way, it will be difficult to return to striding
down the narrow path.
For You Will Be Blessed
is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of the scornful (Ps. 1:1). There are three sharp truths
in Psalms 1 describing the danger and folly of “hanging
out” with the wrong crowd. This advice is priceless; all
would do well to heed these three points.
first picture painted by the author is that of walking “not
in the counsel of the ungodly.” Just stay away and keep
off the paths they travel and one will never have to worry
about following in their footsteps. They have dug deep
ruts on the roadways of life, and once you fall into one
it is a struggle to re-emerge.
second truth garnered from this verse is to not “stand
in the way of sinners.” After telling us not to walk with
the ungodly, the writer points out the danger of just standing
in their way. They still will try to influence you if you
are around. The best thing to do is to remove yourself
from their presence. The sinner’s demeanor creates an environment
that is not spiritually healthy for anyone. We are to be
the salt of the earth (Mat. 5:13). Therefore, we cannot
completely disengage ourselves from the world and hide
behind cloister walls. We, however, must be influencing
those around us for good, and if it is otherwise, just
remember that Jesus said, “…but if the salt loses its flavor,
how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but
to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Mat. 5:13).
we should not “sit in the seat of the scornful.” This is
not referring to just any mocker. This scornful person
is full of contempt for spiritual things. They are contemptuous
of the godly and insolent in their disdain for the scornful.
In the company of the blood-bought people of Christ, however,
we will be strengthened. David said, “I am a companion
of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts” (Ps.
119:63). In Psalm 15, David describes the one who is welcomed
into God’s house as one in whom “…a vile person is despised,
but he honors those who fear the Lord” (v. 4). David adds, “As
for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent
ones, in whom is all my delight’” (Ps. 16:3). The godly
delight in the company saints; the wicked shun them.
society of this world entices us to turn from righteousness
and holiness. Satan, the expert at deception that he is,
knows all the tricks of the trade. His game plan calls
for us to forge ties with evil company. The prince of darkness
knows that when we spend time in the midst of bad company;
he will have a greater opportunity to ensnare us into ungodly
living. In avoiding evil company we will be a faithful
friend to God, be wise, keep our heart in the right place,
keep our morals intact, and be richly blessed.