There’s a saying, “birds of a feather flock together.” I have observed over the years that rebels hang out together. When teens go to camp it only takes a few hours and spiritual rebels seem to find each other. Being around the wrong people will encourage bad behavior. The Bible goes even further when speaking of companions. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. –1 Corinthians 15:33. The first Psalm also reiterates this truth. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. –Psalms 1:1. Beware of who you listen to because the wrong counsel can destroy your life. Preachers are not exempt from bad counsel. Listening to the trendiest preacher and the most enthusiastic person can lead you away from success rather than to it.
An example in the Bible gives us a clear warning of the consequences of listening to the wrong counsel. Rehoboam, upon assuming the throne of his father Solomon, rejected the counsel of the old men and followed the counsel of his peers to his own detriment. The result was a divided kingdom, when if he had listened to the old men the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom would have remained unified. His fatal mistake was listening to the wrong people.
I remember a statement by a preacher many years ago who stated, “you will be the same tomorrow as you are today except for two influences: the people you meet and the books you read.” Along with the books you read I could add the influence of social media and television. Those around us do influence us. That is why I seek to be around spiritual people. I can learn from great Christians and I can learn from great men and women of the past. Spending time and following the guidance of evil or rebellious friends will turn you away from following God.
Being old fashioned is not always a bad thing. Some things are constant and are always good even with the passing of time. It is important to keep up with the changes of the day and adjust when it is important and necessary. However, just because something is new doesn’t make it better. And just because something is old doesn’t make it bad. Discernment is necessary to honestly evaluate the influence of our friends and acquaintances.
Many lives have been ruined by connecting with the wrong influences. No one is exempt from the influence of the world. How many have been pulled into wrong doctrine, sinful habits, and apathy? Preachers must be discerning about the newest thing that comes along. As it has been said, everything that glitters is not gold. Being a bit skeptical is necessary for a preacher to stay on course.