“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—Proverbs 13:20
Compromise may be helpful for some relationships, but it can hurt our spiritual journey. Bending God’s principles is risky.
For example, suppose a Christian man makes some new acquaintances, who don’t share his beliefs. Having grown up in the church, he has practically memorized Proverbs 13:20—“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”—and recognizes the verse is meant to protect Christians from worldly influences. But he rationalizes that spending time here or there with these friends won’t hurt him. Eventually, however, he ends up spending more time with them than with believers and begins to question his own beliefs. Heeding that proverb might have helped him avoid drifting away from the heavenly Father.
To navigate such situations, we must look ahead for possible danger. Even choices that seem trivial can have far-reaching consequences. But the Lord equips us with a conscience and the Holy Spirit, who sounds an alarm if we veer into dangerous territory.
For us to hear these warnings, our heart must be tuned into God’s Spirit and Word. Relying on our own understanding can lead to trouble. But those who trust the Lord and apply His principles will find straight paths through potentially dangerous situations.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.—Proverbs 14:29
There are verses from the book of Proverbs that emphasize the value of being slow to anger. This is especially important when facing a verbal attack. Quiet listening, however difficult, protects us from speaking rashly and offers the opportunity to ask God for help in responding as Christ would.
A calm, gentle reply can defuse a tense situation, but without taking time to process what was said, few of us will be able to answer wisely. When we are slow to anger, we can gain understanding of the situation and the hidden motives that a hot-tempered person can’t objectively comprehend. The Holy Spirit will provide insight on how to answer in a tense situation.
A calm, gentle type response is unnatural, but that shouldn’t surprise us since the One who modeled it is supernatural. Our priorities need to change if we’re to emulate Jesus. Love and understanding must supersede the need to defend ourselves, and preserving the relationship must replace safeguarding our rights. So be calm in all situations, and let Christ be your defender and protector.
Be careful! In a desire to be great, one might cease being any good. Not every teacher is equipped to be a principal. Not every carpenter has the skill to head a crew. Not every musician should conduct an orchestra. A promotion might promote a person right out of their sweet spot. For the love of more, a person might lose their purpose. Greed makes a poor job counselor.
Examine your gifts; know your strengths. Romans 12:3 says to “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.” Proverbs 15:16 says, “It is better to have little with fear for the LORD than to have great treasure with turmoil.”
Don’t let the itch for things or the ear for applause derail you from your God-intended design!
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
The whole point of the book of Proverbs is to impart wisdom to its readers. That’s why it begins with, “To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding,” and also, “To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 1:2-4). In that spirit, our verse for today imparts some wisdom to us. It imparts some wisdom on how to get wisdom.
What does it mean to be wise from the point of view of Proverbs? And what does it mean to be a fool? The answer to these questions can be found in what is probably the most important verse in the book and one of the most important verses in the Bible: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). The truly wise person knows who God is and reveres His word and His ways. The truly wise person knows that one must love God, serve Him, and do things the way God wants.
The fool, on the other hand, is the person who says in his heart, ‘”There is no God”‘ (Psalm 14:1). Hence, he has no regard for the wisdom of God. Indeed, he despises divine wisdom and instruction. Since he has rejected God, he makes a point of living life in opposition to the will and ways of God.
Our verse for today tells us that those who walk with wise people will become wise and also tells us that the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Look around you today. Where are the wise and where are the fools? And then walk with the wise.
Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
Think about it. Have you ever tried to argue with someone in a whisper? It is equally hard to argue with someone who insists on answering gently. On the other hand, a rising voice and harsh words almost always trigger an angry response.
So the challenge is to turn away wrath and seek peace. To do this, choose gentle words and express them with love in your heart. Reflecting the heart of Jesus when you speak brings peace between you and others.