Walking With the Wise: 4 Qualities to Seek

As a teenager, my parents, concerned about the influences I was choosing, would sometimes ask me, “If your friends would jump off the Mississippi River bridge, would you jump with them?” Of course, I answered, “No,” but the reality is that wherever those closest to us go, we tend to follow. Whoever those closest to us become, we tend to become too. Now as a parent of two teenagers, I have conversations with my daughters about their influences, about who they will walk alongside. I am thankful for the Proverbs, the parenting manual for the people of God in the Old Testament.

The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

If we surround ourselves with people ridden with materialism, we become materialistic and suffer harm as emptiness grows. If we are a companion of someone who is cynical about the Scripture, then we suffer as we become cynical and lose the joy of trusting God. If we are a companion of people fueled by anger, we suffer as bitterness grows within us. The Christian life is often compared to a walk. We are walking with the Lord and walking with others. The wisdom writer does not encourage us to walk with people of influence, affluence, beauty, or intellect. But to walk with the wise. From the book of Proverbs, the book of wise sayings, here are four characteristics to look for in people for the walk.

1. Passion for God

According to the book of Proverbs, wisdom comes from a reverent awe for the Lord—a deep appreciation of who God is and what He has done for us.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

2. Peaceful with others

Someone who is wise loves peace. They don’t bring constant turmoil and anger into the relationship. If you walk through life with people who are always looking for a fight, you will be pulled into lots of fights. Someone who is wise is not someone who is always offended or always offensive.

Don’t make friends with an angry person, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered one… (Proverbs 22:24)

3. Perfecting of you

A friend who is peaceful does not mean a friend who is afraid to tell you the truth, who is unwilling to confront you and call you out on areas in your life that need work. Someone who is wise, who is going to make you wise, is someone who is going to sharpen you and be used by God to sanctify you, to perfect you. Good friends aren’t perfect, but God uses them to help perfect you.

The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. (Proverbs 27:6)

4. Pleasurable for the walk

This is a walk, not a quick sprint. So, we want people we enjoy walking with. We don’t have to suffer through friendships or work relationships. This obviously does not mean that we avoid people who will hold us accountable, but we are free to enjoy relationships.

Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel. (Proverbs 27:9)

Of course, the best way to find wise friends is to be a wise friend. Be someone who is passionate for Jesus, peaceful with others, and who cares about your friends’ spiritual growth, and you will pull those types of people into your life.