Guilty By Association

Have you ever heard the sayings, "birds of a feather flock together" or "you are the company you keep?" I'm certainly guilty of associating people with certain characteristics soley based on the people they hang around. I know you should never judge a book by its cover but, sometimes it's hard not to.
The type of people we choose to spend our time with says a lot about us. If we hang with people who are always into mischief and confrontations, sooner or later we will find ourselves entangled in their mess as well. Likewise, if we start associating ourselves with people who are positive thinkers, we will notice ourselves looking for the silver lining in situations. You just simply can't make it to California riding with people headed to New York. We should all strive to keep people in our lives that will help us grow in all aspects: spiritually, physically, mentally. Generally, one person probably won't fill all of these roles, but our inner circle should be made up of people who play a certain part. So, your workout partner may not be the person you go to church with, but he or she is still is a great accountability partner to have in the gym to help you reach your fitness goals. Whether we realize it or not, we can be blessed or cursed by our company. There have been many instances where people have gone to jail and even lost their lives because they were hanging with people who had committed crimes or been involved in conflict with someone else. On the other hand, people like Gayle King have benefited greatly from their association with influential friends such as Oprah Winfrey. In Luke chapter 5, Peter and four other fisherman come back to shore empty handed after fishing all night. Jesus tells Peter to cast his net again and Peter obeys. "Simon answered, Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink" (Luke 5:5-7 NIV). Notice how the fisherman in the other boat benefit from their association with Peter. Their relationship with him not only benefits them, it gives them an overflow! We also have to learn to align ourselves with people with strong faith, work ethic and positivity because iron sharpens iron. So, take the time to evaluate the relationships in your life and see what role each person plays in  enhancing your life. Remember, you're Guilty By Association.

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