[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]When I was sixteen I went to work for a furniture store. In the afternoons after school, I would make furniture deliveries with the owner of the store. One day as we were pulling away from the store, out of the blue he said to me, “Kenny, if you ever want to be successful, hang around successful people.”[/x_custom_headline]

Sadly, at the time I must admit, that I wasn’t aware that this was a biblical principle. And to be honest, this man was far from being a Christian. But I have never forgotten those words just the same.

Those who want to be wise should associate with wise people. Those who want to be strong Christians should associate with strong Christians. For better or worse, to a large degree you will become like those you closely associate with. You will even pick up their figures of speech and even their mannerisms.

If your closest friends are people who are in love with the Lord Jesus,  who read their Bible and pray every day, who are faithful in church attendance and are serving in God’s House, and who are in love with their spouse and their kids, you probably have some good friends. If however, your closest companions are gossips who don’t serve the Lord, can hardly stand their spouse, and are always in financial trouble, you are in for some hard times ahead. Bad relationships are often destructive.

To say it another way, if your friends are deadbeats, they are also deadweight in your life. And those deadbeat friends are draining the strength of the Lord right out of you.

Are your best friends’ fools? A fool is someone who refuses to live based upon the standards and the integrity of the written Word of God. A fool makes their own rules, essentially breaking all of God’s. And lest you think that I am only referring to “worldly” people, I am also referring to many Christians as well. A lot of believers create their own standards of living, thereby rejecting the Lord’s. This is of course, foolishness.

[x_blockquote cite=”Isaiah 32:6 NLT” type=”left”]“For fools speak foolishness and make evil plans. They practice ungodliness and spread false teachings about the Lord. They deprive the hungry of food and give no water to the thirsty.”[/x_blockquote]

Fools speak foolishness. Hang around with a fool long enough and you will too. Before long what you believe about the Bible, your pastor, your local church, and your own walk with Christ will become tainted. You cannot afford the weight of wrong relationships.

Abraham’s nephew Lot made a life altering mistake. We find in the thirteenth chapter of Genesis that some of Lot’s herdsmen got into strife with some of Abraham’s herdsmen. Abraham wanted no strife in his life, so he suggested that he and Lot go in different directions in an effort to live in peace.

If Lot had been thinking clearly he should have apologized to Abraham, fired the men who were causing strife, and continued the fruitful relationship he had with his uncle Abraham. But that isn’t what Lot did. Instead he moved himself and his family to the most wicked place on the earth at the time, Sodom.

[x_blockquote cite=”Genesis 13:12-13 KJV” type=”left”]“12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”[/x_blockquote]

Because of his unwise associations, Lot lost everything. He lost his wife, his daughters and their husbands, and all of his possessions. He was left with two extremely perverted daughters, both of which had incestuous relations with their own father and bore his children.

Where did Lot’s daughters learn such wickedness? Their father inadvertently introduced them to it through the foolish decisions he made and the associations that came from those decisions. It would be impossible to count the number of lives who have gone shipwreck all because of wrong relationships.

[x_blockquote cite=”1 Corinthians 15:33 AMP” type=”left”]“Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.”[/x_blockquote]

Your life will either take an upswing or a downturn based upon who your friends are.

Most parents warn their children about choosing their friends wisely. I am always amazed at how many parents do not follow their own advice. It can be a matter of life and death who your best buddy is.

The Psalmist obviously knew this, look closely at what he wrote:

[x_blockquote cite=”Psalm 119:63 The Message” type=”left”]“I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules.”[/x_blockquote]

Are your friends committed to living by God’s rules? If not, you need to consider who your friends are. Don’t allow wrong relationships to sidetrack you from the journey from strength to strength, from faith to faith, and from glory to glory.

This blog is an excerpt of Kenny Gatlin’s book, Deadweight: Things That Drain Your Strength available for purchase at kennygatlin.com