Walk with the wise and become wise. A companion of fools, however, suffers harm.

Have you ever noticed that when you spend a lot of time with an individual, you begin to say some of the same phrases and have some of the same jokes? You begin to carry out some of the subtle rhythms and routines that this person possesses. It is inevitable that you will be influenced by those with whom you spend the most time. That is why we all find ourselves thinking, “Oh my word, that sounds just like my dad.” Why is that? Research has shown that you will become the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. In other words, you will start to act like those that you chose to spend your time with. We are powerless over the influence of those with whom we spend the most time.

If you spend time with someone, you will become like them. If you spend time with people who are motivated, energetic, and seek excellence, the subtle peer pressure that they exert upon you will influence your life. Are you surrounding yourself with people who are committed to excellence? The likelihood of you adopting patterns of excellence is very high. If, however, you surround yourself with lazy, non-influential people, you will succumb to those very attributes simply by proxy. What kind of people do you chose to surround yourself with?

You must be cautious about who you are spending time with. The Bible says don’t be around an angry man lest you learn his ways. In the same way, what if you were around a joyful person? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that you would pick up on their ways? If you were around a person who is pumped about life and the kingdom of God, wouldn’t it be likely that you would be pumped and begin to get excited about the kingdom of God? We are always under the subtle but powerful influence of those around us.

Over the years, I have deliberately placed myself around people who are in a position that I would someday like to be myself. After observing Godly leaders with a depth of Biblical understanding, I lovingly, but forcefully, found ways to be around them knowing that the power of their influence would rub off on me.

Before choosing who to surround yourself with, you must first know where you want to go. I was a high school chemistry teacher with a desire to be in a full-time vocational ministry role. I aggressively sought to position myself around Godly leaders who were in ministry because that is where I wanted to go. I was influenced by their language and the books that they read, while I sought to adopt some of the subtle practices that they carried out. Are you spending time with people who will help you get to where you want to go? Or are you passively moving through life with no regard whatsoever for the powerful but subtle influence of those upon around you.

Be cautious of who you stand around because you will be dramatically influenced. Walk with the wise and be wise. Remember that a companion of fools, however, will suffer harm.