It is written, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame,” (1Corinthians 15:33-34, NASB).
For today’s lesson, I would like to cover this important piece of Scripture with everyone today. There are two applications being taught in these words, however, I only hear people preaching about one application being brought to light. So, I would like to briefly explain the implications of the character of the people we subject ourselves to, and our own personal character. However, before we start, I must go over the biblical definition of character. A person’s character is based off their disposition thoughts, intentions, desires, and their actions. Godly character is the work of the Holy Spirit working in a believers life. The Holy Spirit, oftentimes by trails and tribulations will mold us to become morally stronger. A believer can not be sober-minded, nor can they stop sinning without the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. With this understanding, I would like to continue.
When it comes to our company, Paul was not speaking about the people we work with or the people we are trying to minister to. What Paul was speaking of was our own personal inner circle. The people we rely on and trust in our daily needs. If we choose to surround ourselves with the wrong type of people (company), their bad habits can stain our character. What that means is how they act and speak will rub off on us. If you are around people that gossip every day, over a period of time you will find yourself gossiping. If you are around people who are prideful and angry, you will find yourself eventually getting prideful and angry over small things. This principle is as true now as it was when Paul was writing this message. We have to be mindful on our relationships with others. If your inner circle is a bunch of unbelievers, how is that helping you grow in character and strength? If you are going through difficult situations, who will pray for you and provide you with wise biblical counsel? If the answer to both of these questions is no one, then find yourself a new company that will not stain your character but who will refine it.
Secondly, Paul is having his readers look inward at themselves to answer the question “why is good character important”? In verse 34, Paul identifies that we must be sober-minded and ought to stop sinning. Why is this so important? It is because he continues by saying that“some people have no knowledge of God.” When Paul wrote this he had shame in the church of Corinth. Their words and actions were not correlating with the Gospel. The reason why it is so important to have good character is not for our personal growth but to be able to share the gospel with others. People do not care about how well you speak or how educated you are. People only care about if your actions line up with your words. If you call yourself a Christian, and you are prideful, angry, and gossip; then your actions do not line up with the Gospel you are preaching. That my friends will turn more people away from Christ than Satan himself.
I pray that we can all take a deep look in the mirror today and absorb this piece of scripture and its two applications. I pray that if we are surrounding ourselves with people of bad character that we can have the strength to cut those relationships and have the courage to build new godly relationships. I also pray that if we are the ones with bad character, I pray that we can repent of them and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to continue to mold us to be a better version of ourselves. I say this frankly because if we cannot be the biblical examples of a disciple of Christ then we should not be proclaiming his Gospel in hypocrisy, and this takes the discernment that only the Holy Spirit can provide in our lives to do so. So, Father, I finish this prayer with a petition for an extra portion of your Spirit in our lives so that we can walk in a manner that is becoming of the sacrifice of your Son. Amen.