WATCH THE COMPANY THAT YOU KEEP
24 Do not make friends with a
do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn their ways
and get yourself ensnared.
WOW, this is a hard one for a red-head to really take hold of today. LOL I am just kidding, BUT I will tell you that growing up I was very passionate about what I believed in and there were times when my passion may have gotten the best of me. I know that for many of us we have that switch that flips from time to time. The one that if someone may hurt our kids or step outside the imaginary boundaries that we have created and we are quick to let them know what is on our minds. We are able to dress them down and give them a piece of our minds. Growing up, that was something that I was surrounded with in my life. My dad, being in the military, and my mom be a very boisterous person, spent a lot of time making sure that everything I did was in line and if it was not... well let's just say we would have a "discussion' about what had happened. I have tried over the years to wrong on my attitude and to do everything I can to let Jesus take the wheel in times of frustration and anger. I cannot say that I have always been successful in keeping an attitude of Christ, but I am also reminded that Jesus did let a little frustration go when He turned over the tables in the temple. In my humanity, I really work hard to breathe and take a moment to step back and look at the situation through the eyes of Jesus.
Being able to live in peace and grace is not something that is easily attained. I want you to think through the situations in your life that causes stress. The things that cause you to get totally bent out of shape and then ask the question why? For some of us, it is the expectations that we have placed on ourselves and others. We have grown into this behavior and it is a struggle to find a way out of the situation. Dealing with anger is not something that is a simple fix. Just like any other attitude, it can develop habits that are destructive to
our health, relationships and the lives of others. I want to encourage each of us to find those stressors or pressure points that "push our buttons" and begin to find ways through prayer and scripture to deal with the situation. I know that some of you may not feel as though you have anger issues, but that is an area where we all struggle from time to time. It does not mean that we may act out on those situations and we pin up the anger and then blow up like an erupting volcano on everyone around us. Here are some power scriptures that may help you in your time of need. Psalm 37:8, Proverbs 19:11, James 1:19-20, Colossians 3:8, 12-13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Luke 6:35, & 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. Take some time to read through these in hopes that the God of peace will speak to your spirit and will allow you to pass on these words of wisdom that will help cooler minds prevail
I said all of this so that we can step into today's scripture with a little more thought and understanding. As Solomon is writing these words, I began to think about the people in my life that I try NOT to hang around. The ones that are negative influencers to my mental and physical life. See, I have always heard these two sayings: "If you lie down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas", and "You begin to reflect the company that you keep." I know that both of these seem pretty similar, and they are, but they tell more than we realize. The real reality is the more time that we spend with people, the more habits we begin to pick up from each other. The more we spend time with people, it begins to effect every part of our lives. The way we dress, the food we eat, the choices that we make, the words that we use. I mean think about it for a second... think about someone that you call a close friend and that you hang out with all of the time. Think about the inside jokes you may have or the ability to read each others thoughts in certain situations. The more you hang out and invest in the life of someone, the more alike you both become. It can even get to the point to where you are mere images of each other with different families and different names, but in attitude and action you are exactly the same. You begin to reflect the company that you keep. So why did I spend a little more time talking about that today than breaking down the scripture, because that is exactly what the scripture is speaking to us today. The wisdom we are able to glean from Solomon today is that our attitudes in any area of our lives will reflect that the company that we keep. So if we hang around angry people, we will thrive off each other and have an angry lifestyle. If we hang around peaceful or generous people, our mindset will change to one of peace and generosity. If we hang around a workaholic, there is a good chance that we will begin to live into the same habits. So when Solomon says, " Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared." He is saying to watch the company that you keep because eventually your actions may result in being just like them... not knowing how you got there or how to get out of the situation.
But I also want to give you a chance to see the hope in his words today. The opposite is true as well. By finding people that are willing to be honest and care... finding people who are looking to help stretch us and build us up, can also have the same effect on our outlook on life. For example, look at the lives of the disciples... they didn't really get it at first. I mean after 3 years they were still struggling to understand their purpose and their calling. Once they humbled themselves and the Holy Spirit entered into the picture... their lives.. their attitudes... their ability to serve completely changed and guess whose life they reflected and mimicked... you guessed it Jesus. And look at how that has been passed down throughout generations all over the world to even today. So the real life lessons and wisdom we can take away from today is to be careful who you choose to mentor and influence your life, and on the other side of things, be a person of influence and change for others. Pour into the lives of others and walk with them and strive to live like Jesus. You might just be amazed at the ability and opportunity we have to change the world when we have the right mindset and
begin surrounding ourselves with others who are willing to live humbly and seek change. I pray that we are all able to look into our lives and see the things that may be causing us to tumble and the things that we have placed on others and pray for God to help us break these chains that hold us and find freedom. It is not going to change over night, but the true reality is that we may all have to say goodbye to those relationships that are toxic and causing us harm if we are going to get out of the pit we have landed in. Cooler heads are the ones that are able to see outside of their situation and realize that something has to change. They are not lashing out at others because of their willingness to bring others into their pit of despair, but they are trying to find ways to help and encourage others on their spiritual journey. Cooler heads realize that it is not always about them or getting their way, but finding the way for the whole to benefit in the end. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, and in fact I still have not perfected it, but I continue to pray each and every day for an opportunity to impact the lives of those that are in my sphere of influence. I pray for our hearts to be connected and through the faults and flaws, we seek to find ways to impact the world for Jesus and help others to reflect the grace, love and mercy we don't deserve but was so freely given to us through Christ. We must continue to pray that use are not lured into the habits that so easily bait and trap us, but that we put on the full armor of God and stand ready for the battles that may arise. It's in the way we respond that truly tells what is in our hearts, and I hope and pray that my heart continues to reflect Jesus and not Jason for all of the world to see.