Every relationship we have, for the rest of our lives, will be doing one of two things—lifting us up or pulling us down. Are we being sharpened by the right people? Do the people we spend most of our time with amplify the joy in our lives?
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Don’t be fooled…, ‘bad company corrupts good character'” (NLT). The individuals we habitually choose to associate with will influence who we become as a person more than any other single factor. We will inevitable take on the habits, attitudes, beliefs, and even the mannerisms of the people we surround ourselves with.
If we hang around people who have no real vision or who limit God with their own caustic attitudes, we will eventually become just like them. Negative people poison our outlook, exhaust our energy, and chip away at our potential for joy. If we associate on a regular basis with people who whine, gossip, condemn, and commiserate, then the inescapable fact is that sooner or later we will resemble them.
It’s highly unlikely that we will even notice this evolution because changes in character happen so gradually. People do not punch, kick, and drag us off course; if that were the case, we would fight back and protect ourselves. Rather, they nudge us just a little bit, then a little bit more, then a hair more, until we finally fall under their complete influence. When people with different values hang out together, somebody ultimately changes.
We must make the shift to investing time with the right people—individuals who lift us up and produce a godly return in our lives. How exactly do we determine which people are the right ones to invite into our inner circle? I suggest to invest more time with people who look like this:
When you have more joy, you are a better person and friend. Start improving your relationships by taking the 40 Day Joy Challenge—sign up today!