[Proverbs 21:9] – “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
( verse 19 – better to dwell in the wilderness)
[Proverbs 13:20] – “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”
[1 Corinthians 15:33] – “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.””
Initiative is part of wisdom. If we have knowledge without action, it is simply knowledge. It becomes wisdom when we put that knowledge into practice. One example is in how we choose our company.
The Bible tells us to build up godly character and to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Both of these assignments require us to be with people. We need people with whom we can love God and build His kingdom together – a unity in His church. In addition, we need to love and serve the lost, the weak and the hurting. The verses above give us an important word of advice as we do these things – the company we are in will influence us.
How do we exercise wisdom in this? Firstly, the verses do NOT say to ignore those who are hard to love. In fact, the Bible specifically calls us to minister to these people, and Jesus set an example of this is His own life as He spent time with tax collectors, prostitutes, blind men and lepers. However, God does not send us out into the world without protection and this is where our verses come in. They are there to ensure our spiritual well-being as we carry out the work of the Kingdom and there are some principles to be learnt.
Contention is useless but God’s word grows.
The corner of a rooftop, and even the wilderness are better than being with a contentious woman. It is better to have a little, or even to be lost in a season of emptiness than to have contention daily. We can grow through a little revelation, and we can grow through wilderness seasons, but contention is not useful. Peacemaking where there is disagreement builds character but contention has its roots in stubbornness and gives no gain. [Titus 3:9] says,
“But avoid foolish disputes, genealologies, contentions, and driving about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.”
Instead, we can dwell with the Word of God which gives us revelation, shows us how to navigate the wilderness, and builds us up in Him.
[2 Timothy 3:16] – “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
[Ephesians 5:19] – “… speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Wisdom is grown by wise company, but destruction through the company of fools.
It matters who we spend time with. We can bring people out of the fire and into the grace of God, but it would be silly to run unprotected into the fire and just sit amongst the flames. When we have good fellowship, we can encourage and grow one another in God. If we have no fellowship and surround ourselves instead with a worldly culture, we will start to yield to it. It is better to have our decisions governed by the will of God and to have them governed by the whims of the world.
[Proverbs 27:17] – “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
The company we keep will bear its fruit in our lives.
Evil company can be deceitful even as it corrupts good habits. However, it will not remain hidden forever. Little by little, those things that we once knew were wrong become clouded and justified. The story of Lot in Genesis 19 demonstrates this. Lot was a righteousness man living with his family in the debaucherous town of Sodom. God sends some angels to see what immorality is there and while they are with Lot, the men of the town knock and ask to abuse the visitors. Lot tries to protect them but in doing so actually offers his daughters to the townspeople instead. They could have been raped and even killed by the townspeople as they were deprived of their father’s protection. By God’s grace, Lot and his family were literally dragged out of Sodom as it was destroyed, even as Lot lingered. Why did he not obey or move when the evil of the town he was living in was so clear? It seems Lot was affected by the company he kept. We need to be aware of the influences around us, and keep watch on the fruit they produce in our lives.
[Psalm 139:23-24] – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
. . .
We need God. We need to be filled up with more of Him so that we can pour this out with others. If we are not continuously in the company of God, we will be in the company of the world and this will show in the fruit of our lives.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by streams of water,
That brings forth its fruit in season,
Whose lead also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”