|Three Fools of Carnival, Pieter Bruegel the Elder|
"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
There is much wisdom in this Proverb, both for young and old alike. In my home, we talk regularly to our children about the company they keep, the books they read, and how they spend their time, because my wife and I both know the powerful influence these have on our lives.
In high school, I was the proverbial "fool" that Christian parents would've wanted their little Johnny to stay away from, and had my hand in leading many a young person down the fool's road. I lacked wisdom and discretion in many areas of life, and enjoyed finding others who shared my views. It wasn't until the Lord's grace reached me and transformed my life by removing my heart of stone and implanting a heart of flesh, that I was able to finally see my folly; and folly is putting it mildly.
So what company are you keeping these days? Who do you enjoy spending your days off with, your free time with, and your internet time with?
What about your children; what company are they keeping?
Who do you believe in your heart, has the hearts of your children?
Have they become "the companion of fools," or do they walk with the wise?
The Proverb says "whoever walks with the wise becomes wise," but what exactly does that mean? To 'walk' with the wise is to willingly reject the fool's path. Walking with someone is a predetermined, cognitive act, that moves you in a certain direction. It isn't just 'knowing' the wise, or once in a while heading in the same direction as the wise; NO, it's much more intentional, much more decisive, much more engaging, and much more formative. It's doing life with the wise, and letting the wise shape your life.
A companion of fools is easy to spot. He's the guys who mopes around aimlessly in life while the wise move toward a vision of where they want to be. The fool is seldom called upon to accomplish anything because no one, except maybe his mother, believes he can do much of anything based on his track record. He's the guy who quits every job he has because he believes his boss is picking on him. The guy who refuses to join the military because he hears stories about how hard boot camp is and that he can't play video games there. The guy who's only looking for a date, not a wife, and only pursues girls who's dad isn't the protector he's called to be in her life. The fool thinks life should be easy, where as the wise understand the fall of man and the duty of man toward God to bring order out of chaos in a fallen world.
The fool says little in life of any substance. He holds no place of honor in the systems of government God has established for humanity to live and function under. He's the guy who says "let's eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall die." The wise "eat, drink and are merry" as well (1 Cor. 10:31), but for much different reasons. In 1 Corinthians 15: 33-34, Paul says,
"Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame."
Are duty as men toward God is to pursue wisdom with all our heart. And our duty as fathers and parents is to raise sons and daughters who pursue wisdom with all their heart. The trumpet has sounded and the King awaits your service....
"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong."
-1 Corinthians 16:13