Argentinean race driver Juan Manuel Fangio was only a lap through the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. As he approached a dangerous bend for the second time, Fangio noticed that something was wrong. The faces of the spectators, which he usually saw as a whitish blur as he drove by, were all turned and looking at something ahead of him. “If they are not looking at me,” Fangio thought, “they must be looking at something more interesting around the corner.” So he braked hard and carefully as he rounded the bend. There he saw that his split-second assessment had been accurate. Ahead of him was a massive pileup that he would have smashed into had he not heeded the warning signs.
Sometimes warnings are subtle and take a trained eye to see, as in Fangio’s case. Other times the warnings are so blatantly stated that it’s hard to miss. Scripture utters many warnings, but one particular one continues to be a warning people either miss or ignore. Paul stated the warning in this way, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Time and time again this warning is not heeded. Paul even said, “Do not be deceived…” meaning that if we aren’t careful, we will deceive ourselves into thinking this isn’t true. And yet so many of us seem to think we are the exception to the rule. We seem to think they won’t influence us. We seem to think we are stronger than others. And like so many have found before us, our bad friends drag us into things that corrupt our morals.
The bottom line is this, either our friends are pulling us towards heaven, or they are pulling us towards hell. Even a “neutral” friend is dead weight on our desperate climb towards the Lord. Let’s heed Paul’s warning and choose our friends carefully. Let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking we are the exception to the rule. The more righteous people we surround ourselves with, the greater chance we have of keeping our eyes on Jesus.