“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

My father had a highly developed skill of sharpening knives. With a knife in one hand and a sharpening steel in the other, he would make long and methodical strokes, with the one tool rubbing against the other, until the knife was razor sharp. Therefore, every time I read Proverbs 27:17, it comes alive with a picture of my father at its center.

What we see here is the remarkable affect that one person can have on another. A good man’s character is sharpened as he spends time with and converses with other men who are good. On the other hand, a bad man’s lusts and passions are sharpened by those who are of questionable character. Men are shaped by those in whose company they dwell.

Therefore, we must carefully choose our companions because their influence on us is great, either for the better or the worse. The Bible is full of admonitions calling us to keep company with the wise and discerning and avoid the company of fools.

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

The encouragement of Hebrews 10:24, is that we, chose as our companions, those who will challenge us, provoke us, stir us, and encourage us to, “…to love and good deeds.”