Never underestimate the power or influence of the company we keep, for good or for bad.
As a counselor I am interested in how people change. Most people would say they are resistant to change and yet they change anyhow. How does this happen?
Frequently, through the influence of the people we hang out with the most. In the beginning it was our parents. As we grew older it became our friends. Then perhaps mentors or college professors, military buddies or work colleagues.
But regardless of how much we realized it, we changed. And that change was, in no small part, a result of who we spent our time with.
Of course, none of this is news to God. He instructs us clearly in Proverbs 13:20 that, “He who walks with wise men will become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Perhaps you’ve heard my former youth group version, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”
This is not just a Christian idea, it is universal. I recently read a quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
So, what’s the big whoop?
Simply this – the Bible is very clear that who we hang out with matters a great deal. Why? Because we will become like those people. Every. Time.
This is why it's so important to pick the right people to be your friends.
Actually, it’s why Jesus should be your closest friend. That’s one of His offers you know? In John 15:15 Jesus tells His disciples, “. . . I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
In the Bible the offer of Jesus was always simply, “Follow Me.” It is a staggering offer if we take Him up on it. Consider the disciples. At His offer, they walked away from everything familiar and “attached” to Jesus. They spent their waking hours together. They went where He went. They listened for hours upon hours to His teachings.
In “attaching” to Jesus in this way they not only began to think differently about God but they began to think “with” God. And as Jim Wilder writes in his amazing book, Renovated, “If an attachment has been established, the greater mind can change the lesser mind.” This is how ultimately, we “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16).
This is exactly what happened as the disciples lived with Jesus for those brief years. They began to think like Jesus. They grew to love the things that Jesus loved and be against those things that Jesus was against. They became like Him as they spent time with Him.
The whole reason we’re here is to “be conformed to the image of His Son” – why? Because just like the disciples, we are to carry on the work of Jesus in our lifetime.
And all that brings me to the issue of New Year’s resolutions.
Most of us make them because we want to change something about our life. Statistically only about sixteen percent of people actually keep their resolutions through the year. The majority quit trying within six weeks.
So, how about this? What change could possibly be better for us than to intentionally become more like Jesus?
If you haven’t made any resolutions yet, feel free to borrow mine — Stay close to Jesus, do what He says. If we can stay true to this simple resolution, change will happen – it simply must. We cannot walk through this life in close proximity to Jesus and not change.
So – stay close to Jesus.
What does that mean for us in 2023? How close?
Close enough to hear Him speak.
Close enough to truly become men of God and of His word.
Close enough to know you are living out your life's calling and purpose.
Imagine millions of men following Jesus this closely –
Imagine yourself following Him that closely –
Imagine the men we could be in 2023!
Happy New Year!
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