This verse of Scripture was one of the first that God gave me when I got serious about my relationship with Him many years ago. He made it clear to me that I was never going to fulfill His call on my life if I allowed myself to get distracted and sidetracked by people that the Bible classifies as “fools.” These are the people who have no fear of God, and no respect for His Word, and who are often unreceptive and unteachable.
The Lord showed me that my first duty as a Christian is my own safety. Therefore, when I am faced with people who are hostile to God and His Word, my first response should not be to fight, but to flee. The intention of many of these “fools” is not to learn anything from me, but to contaminate, hurt, and harm me. Over the years, I have seen the faith of many believers spoiled because they spent too much time in the company of foolish people. (Colossians 2:8) I have also seen God’s people demonstrate poor judgment by engaging unbelievers in unhealthy conversations that do more harm than good. (2 Timothy 2:14)
Proverbs 23:9 (NLT) says, “Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.” One of Satan’s favorite strategies is to cause Christians to engage in endless discussions and debates with fools who are totally unreceptive to the Gospel message. Jesus Himself warned His disciples of this kind of error when He said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6 NIV) As focused as Christ was on saving the lost, He knew there would be times when His disciples would need to use discernment in sharing the Gospel, so that they would not become the victims of Satan’s evil plans to harm them and their witness. The Bible reveals that even the apostle Paul separated himself from those who stubbornly rejected his message, taking his disciples with him to a safer place. (Acts 19:9)
The saddest part of all this is that sometimes, the “fools” that we need to keep a healthy distance from will be among our own family members and loved ones. (Matthew 10:34-36) I know without a doubt that I would not be in ministry today if I had not spent the last 20+ years limiting my exposure to ungodly, hurtful people. Yes, we need to have a heart for the lost of this world, and we need to be motivated by love to help them. But our efforts must be Spirit-initiated and Spirit-led, so that we remain within the realm of divine protection at all times.
Today, I encourage you with the Message Bible translation of Proverbs 14:7 – “Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words!”
Prayer: Lord, help me to perfectly fulfill Your high calling on my life. Teach me how to be led by Your Spirit at all times, and give me the discernment I need to minister effectively to others in Your name. Warn me when I am spending too much time and energy on people who have no desire to know You. And help me to distance myself from those who would spoil my faith. Thank You that as I trust and obey You, You will make me a powerful world-changer for Christ!- J. M. Farro
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