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Traveling companions.


Presumptive Statement 3:

Life is like riding in a car. Your traveling companions will influence the journey.


Bible Reference:

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15: 33, ESV


Years ago I read an article or book about church staff leadership. A well-known pastor and author wrote about his experiences recruiting, supervising, and leading a multi-staff congregation. One of his interview procedures raised a lot of comment but struck a responsive note in many of his pastor colleagues. Screening ministry staff candidates involved the usual processes of personal data, background checks, education, prior service, and references. Before a final decision was made he and the candidate went to lunch in an eating establishment an hour and a half distance from the church, maybe a hundred miles. He said he learned all he needed to know about that candidate while they were in the car. You see, life is like riding in a car. Our traveling companions can surely influence the journey.


Well, duh!!! It's not such a recent revelation, the way the people in our inner circles affect us. Who can forget the scolding instruction of our parents to exercise care in choosing our childhood friends? Or, all of the elementary conduct training that attended those school years? Even more, if having standards about personal relationships isn't a significant life discipline then go ahead and black mark large segments of Scripture, especially Solomon's Proverbs. He certainly understood the lure and power other people exerted on him. All of his writings are glimpses of his personal highs and lows as other people weighed on him. He wrote, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm" (Proverbs 13: 20, ESV), and hundreds more.


Get real about this friend thing. Life thrusts all of us into relational jeopardy at times. Every relationship isn't made in heaven. There are acquaintances, family, work partners, neighbors, even people in the next pew, and social media friends who aren't going to fit into our closest and most intimate networking. Our emotional and spiritual maturity should equip us to the resist the ever-present crowds and the influence of more distant people. Do a Bible survey of verses about pleasing God and not men (Galatians 1: 10;

1 Thessalonians 2: 4; and Colossians 3: 23; for example). And, Scripture provides ample instruction about how we should engage the many other people in our broadest circle. A favorite is the Infographic by Jeffrey Kranz about the One Another passages of the Bible. Click here for this very informative piece. Here. we're not talking about those people on the edges of daily life. The topic in this instance is those up close to us, the people with the potential to shape our responses to life, our more constant traveling companions.


Being careful about choosing friends is one of those ethical and moral standards set aside by more diverse and accepting times. Inclusiveness has become a central theme in every relational situation. Reading Jim Collins Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other Don't (Harper Collins, 2001) several years ago reminded me of this misplaced relational dynamic. The book was an instant best-seller, bringing raves of application in the business world and beyond. One chapter related the importance of having the right people on your bus in the business world. It was a fresh expression of our eternal vision to have the right companions traveling with us.


Because, life in like riding in a car. Your traveling companions will influence the journey.


One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them

astray.

Proverbs 12: 26, ESV


Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you

learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Proverbs 22: 24-25, ESV


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