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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”—Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)
As a kid, I was warned to avoid falling in with “the wrong crowd.” My dad would say, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” For me, this advice became real when I watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Watching Anakin Skywalker fall head first with the wrong crowd—Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine. This “mentor” and “friend” lures him from the light side, the side of good, to the dark side. He deceives Anakin and puts him on a destructive, heartbreaking, tragic path.
Today’s verse provides the same advice that my parents, and I’m sure your parents, shared . . . but with deep stakes attached. Solomon tells us that the person who “walks with the wise becomes wise,” like Daniel LaRusso with Mr. Miyagi. But “the companion of fools will suffer harm,” like Anakin with Palpatine or Edmund with the White Witch in Narnia.
Sadly, I didn’t heed my dad’s warning or receive Solomon’s wisdom. I learned this lesson the hard way. I fell prey to some bad influences, made some dumb mistakes, and definitely suffered harm. I fell into a dark season of depression and brokenness—already as a believer in Christ—and it took some time to come out of it.
There’s just something about surrounding yourself with bad company, even for a brief moment, that always yields terrible results. I think fear—of rejection and shame, of not belonging, of being an outcast—is a huge motivator in this. I know this has happened to me, where being surrounded by a crowd of complete strangers who were saying or doing something sinful, I failed to walk away or boldly speak God’s truth.
We even saw the apostle Peter fall into this. Before Jesus was arrested, Peter swore he wouldn’t abandon or forsake His Lord, to which Jesus responded, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times" (Matthew 26:34 NIV). And sure enough, as we see in John 18:25–27, Peter, surrounded by what Solomon would describe as fools—who were against Jesus—was accused of having been with Jesus, and he falls victim to this fear of rejection. He had to live with that memory from that moment on.
I want to encourage you today to not give in to fear. Don’t allow the advice, influence, or pressure of fools to cause you to fall. Find your strength and boldness in Christ. Remember, as a believer, you’re always in the company of the wise as the Spirit is in you. He’s your helper . . . let Him help and guide!
DIG: Read Proverbs 13, Matthew 26, and John 18.
DISCOVER: Have you ever fallen in with the wrong crowd? What led to it? How did you get out of the wrong crowd and recover?
DISPLAY: Take some time to evaluate the people you’re hanging out with and the company you keep.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.