Father’s Day Blog #2 – The Value of Godly Friends

Proverbs 13:20: He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm

Growing up my youth pastor often looked at us teens and said the following words: “show me your friends; I’ll show you your future.” With those words he filled us with either hope … or concern – depending on who was sitting next to us! And with those words, he summarized Proverbs 13:20.

As much as we like to tell ourselves we are our own unique person uninfluenced by others, that simply isn’t the case. The people we surround ourselves with in the present often influence our view of God and his world and as well as our response to them. The present will in some way influence our future.

The principle from Prov. 13:20 is that walking with people who embody and display wisdom in the present will result in personal wisdom down the road. The one who does the same with fools, however, will not walk away unscathed. Personal harm, not personal wisdom, awaits them.

So, what does this mean for us? Fathers, my guess is you long to see your children form good friendships with good friends. You want them on the path to wisdom, not harm. With truth from God’s Word and personal experience, you likely see the friends of your children with greater clarity than they possess.

Prov. 13:20 – For Fathers

But Fathers, I want to start with you. For you cannot give your children what you do not possess. In 1 Cor. 11:1 Paul did not merely say “follow Christ” but “follow me as I follow Christ.” Can you not only say “Son, walk with the wise” but “follow me as I walk with the wise”?

The word “walk” does not merely refer physical walking but to those we allow to influence our lives. Fathers, who are those people in your life? Who would your children say is your closest friend(s) (besides your spouse)? If they can’t answer that question, perhaps that leads to another. Do your children view you as a lone ranger? Do they think, “Dad is a dad. Dads don’t need friends”? That may sound macho, but it doesn’t sound biblical. Fathers, we need the church. We need accountability. We need encouragement. We need truth from God’s Word from the mouths of others. The Christian life is not a solo sport. May your children see and know that you don’t walk alone. You walk with the wise.

And that brings us back to our first question. Are the people you “walk” with wise? Do your children look up to the men you surround yourself with? After basketball, golf, coffee (if you’re into that), or Men of Faith with those men, do you come home refreshed and ready to love your family?

What about the people you don’t physically walk with, but walk with nonetheless? Would your favorite books, Facebook friends, and Twitter feed (“X” feed?… whatever Twitter is called these days) classify you as someone who walks with the wise? Or would it classify you as the companion of fools? Fathers, show me your friends (you golf buddies, your entertainment, and your social media) and I’ll show you your future. Show me your friends and I’ll show you the example before your children.

Prov. 13:20 – For Children

Now ask those same questions of your child.

Consider this. Children are to obey and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1) and you are to bring them up in the instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). However, there will likely come a time when your child would rather listen to the instruction of their friends. They would rather give honor to their peers than their parents. I don’t bring that up to justify those decisions, but to remind you your child will experience that pull within their heart. But what if the friends around your child are wise? What if, when your child feels that pull, the “instruction” of their friends is to obey God? What if their friends help them obey and honor you? Help your child develop godly friendships with godly friends. Point out the Christlike character in their friends. Pray for their friends.

A Final Word

Is Prov. 13:20 saying we should never talk with unbelievers? If your child is placed in a group at school with someone the Bible would label a fool, should they ignore them? Certainly not. Jesus called us to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). We are to stand out and point others to Jesus. Jesus loved us when we were sinners and far from him, and we are to do the same to others. However, there is a difference between loving someone toward Jesus and becoming like them. There is a difference between being a friend to someone and being, as our Proverb says, their companion. Jesus was called a friend of sinners, but he didn’t “walk” with them. We should follow Jesus’ example in loving those around us while following the wisdom Prov. 13:20 in choosing those who will influence our view of God and his world and our response to them. May we all (Grandmas, grandpas, fathers, mothers, singles, and children) be those who walk with the wise that we may become as they are, wise.

Ian Woodall
Ian was raised in Faith Church (1997-2011). It was during those early years that he understood his need for a Savior, believed the gospel, and was saved by God. His family then moved to upstate NY before starting high school. It was in NY that he met his wife, Beka. They married in 2019 and were blessed with a son, Liam, in 2022. Ian received his Master of Divinity in 2023. Throughout the degree he was heavily involved in his local church serving in kids ministry and student ministry and working on staff as intern and as pastoral assistant. It was during that season that the Lord deepened Ian’s love for the local church and desire to preach God’s Word to God’s people.