You cannot control who your co-workers are, but you can control who you choose as your workplace friends. Select your friends wisely because your choice of friends will impact your success.
Proverbs 13:20 declares: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” This verse is God’s statement of fact: you will grow wise with the right friends, and you will suffer harm with the wrong friends.
Consider Proverbs 13:20 in its two parts.
A companion of fools suffers harm.
Fools are people who delight in not understanding. They take pleasure in pursuing the wrong things and they scoff at living wisely.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fools despise wisdom and discipline,” and 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
The Hebrew word for “companion” is used 163 times in the Old Testament and is most frequently translated in the context of a herd of sheep grazing together. Companions think alike, eat the same things (literally and figuratively), and go to the same places.
Proverbs 13:20 is telling you to not have companions who pursue the wrong things in life.
He who walks with the wise grows wise.
A wise person, on the other hand, has mastered the art of living God’s way. The wise are mature and competent. They are skilled at the craft of life.
Proverbs 3:14 says, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life.” Befriend the wise and choose them to be the ones who influence your work and guide your career.
Preferring the wise as friends does not imply that you stop evangelizing the lost. Jesus’ call for you to stay in the world and be his witness to all still applies. Jesus ministered to all sorts and conditions of people, fools included, and you can too.
Jesus lived and worked in the world as an example for you to follow, yet he maintained the twelve as his closest friends.
Like Jesus, you can mix it up with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:10), while not becoming the companion of fools. Knowing where the one stops and the other begins is key.
Finally, God’s Word gives us Hebrews 10:24-25 which instructs the Christian church when it says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”
Forge friendships with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and encourage one another as fellow laborers in the workplace.
Your friends, for better or for worse, will influence your destiny. Walk with the wise.