Proverbs 13:20 ESV
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
We judge people for the company they keep not just because it speaks to their current moral tastes but because we know that it will have an impact on how their morals develop in the future; we know that he who keeps bad company tends to become bad company. Wisdom is a fairly peculiar sort of treasure: giving it away usually just increases how much you have. The best place to learn wisdom, therefore, is under the tutelage of the wise. The fool, meanwhile, leads both himself and all his companions into harm, not knowing when to stop or even where to start.
We learn from the people around us. Sometimes this learning is conscious, intentional; sometimes we imitate our companions without even meaning to; sometimes we act like them in order to fit in- for instance, proclaiming out own individuality and independence because that’s what everybody else is doing. Self-control and wisdom can both limit and guide this process, but, ultimately, we will be affected by our surroundings. Our responsibility, therefore, is to choose those surroundings well, to seek out people who foster wisdom and not foolishness.
Psalm 1 hints at this, saying, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” (1-2). He who avoid such company, the Psalmist says, is blessed, for he does not love those who hate God. What type of people, though, should we seek to surround ourselves with?
Well, the answer here is fairly simple. Proverbs 4:7 commands, “Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” Proverbs 13:20, our verse for the week, instructs us as to how we can gain wisdom: walk with the wise. How do we discern who is wise?
Like with other traits, the tool by which we discern a man’s wisdom is his actions. In 1 Kings 3:28, the nation of Israel discovers Solomon’s wisdom through the perspicacity of his judgements in court. Likewise, we can pay attention to those around us who proclaim their love for God (which love is, obviously, a prerequisite for Biblical wisdom) and inspect their history, learn from their actions and the motives we can logically ascribe to those actions in order to determine if they have wisdom.
In the end, there is only one perfect companion, only one perfect guide. God has given to His people His Holy Spirit, a guide and a comforter (John 14:16). If the one who walks with the wise human becomes wise, how much more so the one who walks with God, from Whom all wisdom flows? Only a fool would despise this gift, would turn it away. God has given to His people the opportunity to stand before Him, in prayer and in praise, and to learn from Him, both through His word and through His guiding Spirit. Let us then be hasty to partake of His generosity, with reverence and thanksgiving.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.