1 Corinthians 15:33-34
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
It seems that some from the Corinthian church were hanging out with the wrong crowd. It was having a very negative effect on them. Their minds were being corrupted with ideas that did not line up with the truth. In this portion of Scripture, Paul warns the church not to get drawn into false teachings. They were dangerous to the listener and did not lead to godly living.
How many times do we convince ourselves that interaction with our friends who do not share our faith is a good thing? After all, we can be a good influence in their lives. Right? So often, we find the opposite effect in the relationship. Even the strongest Christian can find himself thinking more like the world and less like Jesus, giving his/her friends a false impression of what this Christian life is all about. Our presence can also act as a stamp of approval on their bad behavior. This is not to say we shouldn’t hang out with unbelievers (school, sports, etc.) because we don’t want them thinking we are too good for them (which we definitely are not). We are to be a light to them. We need to pray for discernment and balance in this.
“Sober up!” is the literal translation of come back to your senses. Paul uses this imperative to snap the Corinthians out of their complacency. They had exposed themselves to things that were not true and then found themselves being influenced by it. “Stop sinning!” was next in his commands to the people of this church. Their interaction that had started with just hanging out with false teachers had transformed into the action of wandering off the path of righteousness and the truth about Christ.
Our friends need an accurate view of what God really looks like. We need to invite them into our world rather than only stepping into theirs. It would be a “Good character corrupts bad company” kind of thing, showing them the Christian life through our actions and words. To do that, we must be strongly influenced by hanging out with Jesus, listening to His truth and walking in His ways.
What are some of the ways you can invite your friends into your world? Think beyond just inviting them to church.