Psalm 1 begins “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…” As I was thinking about this, my first inclination was that it was a caution about the company you keep. If you want to be happy and blessed by God, don’t hang around with the wrong crowd.
But that’s not really what the passage says, is it? After all, our Lord kept dubious company–a fact the teachers of the law did not hesitate to point out. But Jesus’ reply, that sick people need a doctor, cut to the heart of the matter: it’s not who you’re with, per se, it’s the question of who’s influencing who.
We warn people about the company they keep because hangin’ with the wrong crowd can send you down the wrong road. But on another level the Christian is supposed to keep company with sinners–how else will they hear the gospel?
But who’s influencing who? Believers must guard themselves. Keep company with the wicked, but don’t walk in their counsel. Be a light shining forth the gospel in dark places–but have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness. Sometimes that will mean not even keeping company with the wicked in certain places and certain activities.
Watch the company you follow. Blessed are those who don’t walk according to the ways of the people of the world.