Friends and PEOPLE with whom you associate have and will always have a PROFOUND affect on your life. Jesus was very particular about with whom he associated and spent time. If you associate with successful people, you will be successful. If you associate with people with a big vision and going some place in life, they will inspire you and you will go further than you normally would go.
The opposite is just as true. If you associate with lazy, undisciplined people, before long, you will be lazy and undisciplined. If you are around negative people, people who are always finding faults, talking about others, those things will rub off on you. YOU WILL BE EXACTLY LIKE THE PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU ASSOCIATE.
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall BE wise: but a companion of fools shall BE destroyed.
God is telling us, we will BE exactly like the people with whom we associate. I am asking you today to examine your friendships and with whom you spend time. That’s not difficult to do. Ask yourself these questions: “Do I want to be like this person?” “Do I really like their qualities?” “Do they inspire me to reach higher, or do they drag me downward.” “Do they have a vision for their life, or settling for a so-so life?”
We seldom understand the power of our friendships and associations. We think we can be around whomever we want and it not effect us. That’s not true. It is effecting us either good or bad. The Bible is very clear concerning associations we are to avoid.
Proverbs 22:24-23 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Maybe you have a friend with a bad temper. He’s been that way for years. He’s always blowing up and not doing anything to change. You need to get away from that person. Hot-tempered people always get into and cause trouble. If you hang with that person, you will begin blowing up too. It will cause you trouble in life – trouble in marriage, work, everywhere.
Proverbs 15:19 A lazy person has trouble all through life; the path of the upright is easy!
Young people, you shouldn’t hang around people in school that are not going anyplace. Don’t associate with people who are always bucking the system and getting into trouble. Stay away from people with a bad attitude. They’re not cool. They’re dumb. God has a tremendous future planned for you, and the enemy would love to get you off course at a very early age. Don’t loose your destiny because of lazy people. Find friends who are going to do something with their lives. Hang out with people who are disciplined and have goals for life. The QUANTITY of your friends is not important, but the QUALITY of your friends will make or destroy your life. I would rather have one good friend who had his head on straight and going somewhere with life than twenty-five friends going nowhere.
Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
No one needs to tell you to avoid perverted people, but say you go to lunch, or off with people frequently who gossip about everybody and everything. They talk about how bad things are at work. It won’t be long, you will say, “Well, you know what? It’s bad where I work too.” They spread rumors here and gossip there. It won’t be long before you will be tuning in to hear the next tidbit of gossip. Before long, you will be spreading gossip too. If they talk badly about their husbands, it won’t be long before you will be blasting your husband. You need to get out of that environment. Find someone else to go to lunch with, or go alone. It’s very important with whom we associate.
You say, “Well, I don’t join in to their talking. They are my friends, so I only SIT back and listen.” That’s just as bad. It’s poisoning you and just a little poison has a horrible effect. You wouldn’t sip just a little poison would you? That will damage your liver and kidneys.
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who DOES NOT WALK in the counsel of the wicked or STAND in the way of sinners OR SIT in the seat of mockers.
If you sit there, it will get into you. Don’t WALK, STAND, or SIT with those people. I’m telling you, it will take your blessings from you.
There is a term known as “The Law of the Group.” The law is we all associate with people we see ourselves like. Then your group sets the laws and standards as to how you act. If you see yourself as weak, defeated, inferior, etc, then you will associate with weak, defeated, inferior people. Their laws are loose, lazy, unrestrained, no accountability, etc. However, if you see yourself as successful, accomplishing your dreams, and going somewhere in life, you associate with successful, dreaming, going somewhere people. The laws are success, dreaming/inspiring, accountability, etc.
Here is a great reality check. If you want to know what you will be like in your future, or have insight to what the future holds for you, take a good, realistic look at your friends. If your friends are negative, unhappy, down, etc, that’s not a very good sign. If your friends are lazy, or angry, or critical, or gossips, that’s not a very good sign. If your friends do drugs, get drunk, or mess with those type things, that’s not a very good sign. If your friends are full of self-pity and a “woe-is-me” attitude that’s not a very good sign. You need to find some new friends. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ASSOCIATE WITH SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE. HAPPY PEOPLE ASSOCIATE WITH HAPPY PEOPLE. If the people you run with today are not what you want to be like, let this be a wakeup call and begin making changes.
I was doing research on the internet for our study, as I always do. I found this amazing article. I reference it and truly hope you will take the 5 minutes required and read it totally. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren Harding, and Harvey Firestone were all close friends. They associated with one another so much so that they frequently went on camping trips. Allow me to tell you who these amazing friends were in the event you don’t know.
Henry Ford was the founder of the Ford automobile, but more importantly, the modern assembly line, which makes everything, including the automobile affordable to people like you and me. Ford innovated the insertion of a gas engine into the automobile giving it a self-contained power source. Henry Ford became one of the riches men in the world.
Thomas Edison is considered “one of the most prolific inventors in history.” He patented 1,097 inventions. You young people (and older) can thank Edison for your IPhones, CD players, etc. He invented the phonograph as well as the light bulb and was the leader in bringing generated electricity into any building including every home. He pushed communication and our now “cell phones” can easily be related back to Edison.
President Warren Harding was the 29th president of the United States. He was a Republican from Ohio who defeated his democratic opponent by the largest landslide in American history.
Harvey Firestone was the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. He began by making rubber tires for horse carriages and was a leader in the perfection and use of rubber. He connected with Henry Ford to make rubber a necessity.
My point is, these are men whose minds changed the world, but would any of them do what they did without their association with each other? They were legitimate friends. It would be impossible to get into that circle and not become creative, successful, and wealthy. They were contagious. Ford and Edison became such friends that when Edison’s health began to fail, he moved to Florida for a warmer climate. Ford moved literally next door. Some of Edison’s last words were, speaking about Ford, “I can only say that in the fullest meaning of the term, he is my friend.” In the fullest meaning of the term, who is your friend? It’s your mirror. It’s your future. It’s who you are.
Those men did not spend time with negative, defeated, critical, gossiping people. They spent time with other dreamers. No wonder they went to places others never go. Find someone with the qualities you desire. Find someone who has a larger vision than you and stick with that person.
Every person is contagious. Let their successful contagious qualities contaminate you. Catch their attitude. Note how they solve problems, treat people, work habits, determination, etc. If you spend enough time with them, you will become exactly like them.
Elijah was a very powerful prophet of God. He could call down fire from heaven, stop rain, and cause it to rain. He was a successful, amazing, deep thinker doing things never before done. Elisha was simply a farm boy working on a farm following oxen. One day Elisha had the opportunity to change his life.
1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha… took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then HE SET OUT TO FOLLOW ELIJAH and became his attendant.
Elisha’s attitude was I am going to follow you, watch you, and become like you. I am going to learn from you. For years, this went on day in and day out, sun up to sun down. Several times, Elijah tried to get rid of Elisha, but no way.
2 Kings 2:2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.
“Elisha, stay here.” “No way!” “As long as there’s a God in heaven and you are alive, I’m am going to be with you. You can’t discourage me.” Most of us would be offended. “Well, if you don’t want me around, then be full of yourself…” Not Elisha.
Time came for Elijah to go be with the Lord. Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted.
2 Kings 2:9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.
There was nothing about being a farm boy in what Elisha wanted. Elisha had been with Elijah so much that Elisha’s vision was now big.
When you associate with the right people, your vision always enlarges. You believe God for bigger things. That’s why when you hear a good lesson, you go out with vision and hope. Many Sunday nights Judy and I get calls saying, “I want to do….” Then we wait… and usually never hear another thing about it until the person gets around Elijah again. What often happens is the person associated with wrong people and lost the vision. Stay around YOUR Elijah.
Elijah’s response to Elisha when Elisha asked for a double portion is interesting.
2 Kings 2:10 "You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah replied. "If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. BUT IF NOT, THEN YOU WON'T."
“Elisha, if you will stick with me to the end, you can have the life you want, “but IF NOT, THEN YOU WON’T.” That wasn’t a problem for Elisha. He was there the day the Lord took Elijah. Guess how many miracles are recorded about Elisha compared to Elijah. A “double portion.” Elisha experienced the life he desired because he associated with the right people refusing to associate with anyone else. With whom do you associate?
I encourage you today to stop hanging with people who have no vision. If they are defeated, sad, victims, gossips, complainers, in trouble, etc, what is there you want? They are contagious and no matter what you think, you will catch what they have.
I’m not saying to not minister to those people. I am saying stop spending your quality time with them. Help them if you can, but wear a breathing mask. I have seen many people lured off course because they thought “The Law of the Group” didn’t apply to them. No. You will become exactly like the people you are around. I know you don’t have any intention to run around on your spouse, or do drugs, or go off and get drunk, or do dumb things, but if you associate with people who do, you will. Don’t be a fool. “…but IF NOT, THEN YOU WON’T.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: "BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER."
If you keep bad company, it will corrupt your character. It might not be what you intended, but it is what will happen. If you mess with fire, you will be burned. If you walk along the riverbank long enough, you will fall in. If you sit in the barbershop long enough, you will eventually get a haircut. Even if you are married, if you hang out in a single’s bar, you will become single. If you don’t want to be stung, stay away from the bees. You cannot soar with eagles if you scratch around with chickens.
People ask, “Why doesn’t anything ever good happen to me? Why can’t I catch a break?” Hello! Take a look at your friends. There’s your answer.
I realize, we can’t always chose the people with whom we associate. You might be married to a very negative person, or work with someone negative. God will give you grace and wisdom to deal with that and even use it as a tool to bring them to Christ. You will need a double dose of good associations as soon as possible.
We are talking today about when we do have a choice to choose. Many of you truly need to evaluate your relationships. For example, some of you have friends who every day dump their negativism on you: their horrible husband, or their wacky wife; or their shameful situation. I’m not uncaring, but you need to stop listening. How long have you been talking and listening to them about it? Years? So, your advise is not doing any good and certainly is not doing you any good. It’s poisoning you. Stop doing it. If you don’t, you will begin talking about your problems. “Your husband does what? Girlfriend, you should hear what my husband does.” If you keep talking to someone about how horrible their marriage is, you will soon start to view your marriage the same way.
Moses sent twelve spies into the land. Joshua and Caleb ended up together. After 40 days all twelve came back. Ten of the 12 gave a very negative report. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report. They said, “We can do it. It’s a great future. Certainly, there are some giants and battles but we are well able.” The other ten were negative and their words contaminated the entire bunch stopping two million from going into their future. An entire generation finished their lives in the wilderness dieing in the desert. Only ten negative people contaminated the entire bunch. It doesn’t take much negativism. One germ from one person could mess up the rest of your life.
There is always the 10 to 2 principle in life. For every two who will take you into your future, there are ten who will stop you. Your goal is to find the two dreamers in your life. Hook up with them. Listen to them. Avoid the 10. Be selective.
Jesus was very selective about with whom he spent what little time he had. Even with one of his closest friends Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter was not going to take the Lord’s destiny. Life is too short to hang around negative, defeated, “not so” people.
Your dreams can happen, but it requires the correct selection of associations. Birds travel in flocks. Eagles travel in pairs. You don’t need any more negative spies in your life. One bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch. One bad person in your life can spoil your life. Find you some Joshua’s, Caleb’s, and Elijah’s, Edison’s, and Ford’s. Don’t allow associations to steal your life. Be selective when choosing your friends. Associate with the right people.