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Summary: How to discern if your friends are spiritually healthy for you.

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1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." (ESV)

33 Don't fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. (CEV)

One of the most important decisions a person will make is who his/her companions are. God’s Word instructs us to pick our friends carefully. It really does make a huge difference who you spend time with.

One thing Biblical passages like this one teach is who you spend time with really does make a difference in your life both now and in the future.

The book of Proverbs, like all Biblical writings, is God’s Word to His people. God gave the book in the form of a dad speaking to his young son. That dad warned his son of the corruption and damage that comes in some common ways and one of those ways is that damage comes by running with the wrong crowd. He said in Proverbs 1:15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: Don’t walk with, don’t travel through life with corrupt companions. The wrong kind of friends will lead you to do things you would have never done had you not join in with the wrong crowd.

Years ago, there was a blackbird infestation in the delta.

There were flocks of blackbirds that numbered into tens of thousands and maybe more. Those flocks would enter into fields of grain and devastate crops. So, farmers began shooting into the massive flocks to drive them away from their fields.

The story is told of a farmer who had a pet, talking parrot. One day the farmer slipped up to his field covered with blackbirds, he raise his gun and began firing indiscriminately. As the black birds scattered, he heard the voice of his parrot shouting in pain. He ran into the field and picked up his wounded parrot and asked, “How did this happen?” The parrot replied, “Bad choice of friends! Bad choice of friends!”

I. How Running with the Wrong Friends Begins.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

The word deceived was translated from word that means to go astray.

The idea is we are to keep our thoughts aligned with truth, good and right so we don’t go astray into deceptive thinking.

A person has to make choices to keep his/her mind from slipping into deceptive thinking, which can certainly come through one’s companions.

Running with the wrong crowd can happen when a person begins to be convinced that bad companions are actually friends of value. This happens because of misplaced values. In other words, if a person begins to want unhealthy things in his/her life or unhealthy lifestyles, those desires, if not rejected and rebuked, will cause a person to become open to thinking lies and doing wrong things.

The lure of fun, popularity and selfish pacification often works in a person to cause him/her to make some bad choices concerning his/her companions.

Running with corrupt companions is likely to happen when a person rationalizes that unhealthy friends aren’t really that bad.

The idea of deception here is not that of self-deception that is so often mentioned in the Bible. This kind of deception comes by enticements from outside sources, which make their way into one’s mind and then their lies become that person’s own ideas. In other words, a person with good intentions is first enticed by a person/s of vain philosophies and the lure of their deceptive words take root in one’s mind and then that person buys-into the lie that such friends are worth having for advantage, which is selfish pacification.

Running with the wrong crowd begins when a person accepts and believes the lies of advantage by joining in with ungodly friends, thus doing wrong things.

It is good to keep in mind that God calls these kind of companions “evil.”

That leads to the next point:

II. The Core of Evil Friends.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

The word evil was translated from a word that means worthless, or depraved. Such persons are bad at the core. Their hearts are not good toward God. They may be “good” people in many ways, but their core convictions are not aligned with God and His Word.

If you follow these kind of persons, they will lead you away from closely walking with Jesus, thus away from living a life that reflects God and His goodness.

These persons are the kind of persons who live without restraint of convictions from God or His ways. They have nothing of godly worth to offer by their words, actions and lifestyles. They are in essence evil in God’s sight.

That is sometimes difficult to accept concerning persons with whom one has developed a close friendship.

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