We’ve talked about choosing friends wisely in this series. Today we’re talking about listening to wise friends. Our verse today is Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (NASB 1995) A wise friend will give wise counsel. They may tell us something for our good and it may hurt, but they are looking to help us become better than we are.
Solomon is telling his son that having wise friends will be for his betterment. In Proverbs 19:20-21, He advises, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (ESV) Christian friends are a treasure! They will give us wise counsel based upon Scripture. They will help us in our walk with the Lord, wanting to see us grow in our life with Christ. They want to see that our Christian witness is true and honorable. When we are trying to hear from God and are not sure of what He has told us, we can ask a wise friend for advice, and they will pray, ask for discernment, and give us what God has placed upon their heart.
A true friend will give us wise counsel, even if it hurts! Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” (NASB 1995) A wise friend will tell us about our character flaws when it’s something we need to hear. For example, my first husband pointed out to me that I was acting like my father whenever we got into an argument. One day during an argument he very bluntly said, “Don’t act like your Dad!” It was as if he’d slapped me in the face, literally! I was so shocked! I didn’t realize how much like my Father I was. I had to sit down and do a real hard look at myself. My husband told me this because he loved me, and he knew I could do better, and he wanted me to overcome and win this battle. I still have problems in this area, and it is a daily struggle for me. But now, I know I have this problem, and even now with my current husband, I can sometimes slip back into that pattern, and then I need to ask forgiveness.
We need wise friends that we can sit down and talk to, but the Wisest, Best Friend we can have is Jesus! When we delve into His Word and absorb what He says, we are receiving the wisdom we need. “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105 CSB) The Bible is the wise counsel that comes from God. He will advise us so that we can grow in our walk with Him and be a light to those around us. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8 ESV)
Sometimes, God, the Holy Spirit, communicates with us. When we listen to the promptings He gives us…you know, that still, small, voice that nudges us whenever we are about to do or say something that will not help us or anyone else, we are listening to the wise counsel He gives. When we need help in making decisions, He will guide us. When we need correction, He will lovingly, discipline us or bring to our attention our failing.
He also helps us in choosing those wise friends that will walk with us. He will whisper to our heart if there is something amiss and advise caution. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 ESV)
We can’t lose when we are surrounded by wise friends and Jesus! “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14 KJV) When we have Jesus and our wise friends by our side, we can walk in wisdom and live according to God’s plan for our lives.