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Proverbs 28:7 (NLT)

Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.

Put me in a room with your son or daughter and five of their closest friends…give me an hour to get to know them… and I’ll be able to explain to you and your child the current trajectory their life is on. If their friends are solid or at least fairly decent, God-fearing people…they are on a pretty good path. If your son or daughter is the highest quality person in their circle, you might be tempted to think they are a natural leader…but the opposite is more likely to be true. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33).

When it comes to obeying the law of God, we must teach our children that it is not some “stairway to Heaven,” but rather, is there to show them their sin (and thus their need for a Savior) and help them experience God’s best for their lives! Far too many young people in our churches today see the Christian life as a mundane system of Do’s and Don’ts rather than an intimate and exciting life walking alongside the Creator of the Universe as his son or daughter in Christ. This godly wisdom is not to be despised, as the fool does (Pr. 1:7) but is to be learned and obeyed for one’s own good as well as an expression of love towards Christ (Jn. 14:15).

One’s choice of friends always has an enormous impact on their life. If you choose friends that are trying to walk with God and have godly ambitions and character, they will help you climb higher and higher in your journey, as we saw just the other day (Pr. 27:17). If you choose to hang around with “wild friends” who are guided by “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16), they will only serve as an anchor, dragging you down deeper and deeper into the abyss and away from God. This is not a command to avoid all sinners, which of course is quite literally impossible. Rather, this is a wise admonition that while we need to be a friend to sinners, like our Savior, we need to be sure that our closest friends – and therefore counselors – are urging us on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24) rather than dragging us backwards into worldliness. This is one of the most valuable skills you can pass on to your children.

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