Read 1 Corinthians 15:33
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (NIV)
We have heard of the familiar concern of parents for their children that they don’t mix with the wrong crowd. It is true that the company we keep can shape our lives for better or for worse. This doesn’t remove from us our own responsibility for the lives we lead, but others do exercise a great influence on us. And that influence can be for good or bad.
Paul was reminding his readers of the great truths of Jesus’ resurrection. He warns them against being swayed by those who have misunderstood or denied the resurrection. He quotes a Greek poet to support his case. Our modern equivalent of it might be “Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas.”
It is good for us to steer clear as far as possible from those who would lead us astray and who corrupt our faith. This doesn’t mean we never interact with those who think or speak differently. We can learn a lot from others with diverse views. We are not to be close-minded bigots. But we choose in general to hear and mix with those who encourage us and urge us to draw closer to Christ, even if they have some different ideas about how to do it.
We do well to steer clear as far as possible from those whose outlook on life is driven by negativity. Again, not to say we only mix with the cheery ‘Praise the Lord’ types. We can’t quarantine ourselves from all and sundry. But an overdose of gloom and cynicism can cause problems. So we might choose to gravitate to those whose general outlook on life brings Jesus into clearer focus irrespective of their temperament or life circumstances.
We are shaped and reshaped by the company we choose to keep.