“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” — Proverbs 13:20
For many years, Ron and I tried really hard to get our organizations to partner. I thought FCA would be a great fit with his company, but it didn’t happen after countless meetings, visits and calls. Even though a partnership never formed, a great friendship did. Ron and I have been friends for the past 20 years!
Every time I spent time with him, I was stretched and strengthened in my faith. One day Ron called me and invited me to read the book of Proverbs with him for the upcoming month. “Would you like to do The Wisdom Challenge and partner with me by going through Proverbs together?” Ron asked. I jumped on it! Ron was getting ready to stretch me once again, and so was God.
It seemed simple enough. In the past, I had taken on some Proverbs challenges where I read a chapter of Proverbs each day for a month and greatly benefited from this exercise; however, I had never done it with someone. I was ready to experience something new.
For 31 straight days, we texted each other what God revealed to us. We encouraged and commented on one another’s insights. I was blown away of the significance of going through Proverbs with someone versus by myself.
The big surprise wasn’t necessarily what I was gleaning from Proverbs but the dynamic interaction with Ron through a couple of texts each morning. It made our insights from Proverbs come alive. It gave them substance and application. And accountability! The interaction was life-giving.
At the end of the month, Ron encouraged me to invite someone else to do The Wisdom Challenge. So, the following month, I carried it on. I decided to start with my son, Elijah, who was in college at the time. Spending 31 straight days in God’s Word with my son and hearing how God was speaking to him was a gift from God—something I will never forget!
Over the years, I have journeyed with countless friends, FCA teammates and family members through Proverbs. The crazy thing is that it often feels like I’m going through Proverbs for the first time again. Through FCA, I’ve seen it take off around the world. Numerous international leaders, as well as coaches and athletes in dozens of countries, are doing this simple discipline. Men and women around the world are growing in wisdom. And it’s changing lives!
Life’s graveyard is filled with the good intentions that went nowhere because someone thought they didn’t need others on the journey. We absolutely need others to succeed in life. Others are essential to our success—and that’s particularly true in the pursuit of wisdom.
If we want to make a difference in this life, we need to become wise. A key way to become wise is to pursue wisdom with others. That is why the Christian life isn’t for you alone; it’s for you and other people you invite to join you on the journey. The pursuit of wisdom always comes in the context of relationships.
Idleness + Isolation = Destruction
Since the pandemic hit, our schedules and routines have flipped us upside down. Additionally, we all have faced extreme isolation. The combination of idleness and isolation is toxic and deadly. Just in the last month, I have personally witnessed the tragic impact of these two results of the pandemic, and it has broken my heart.
In Proverbs 18:1, Solomon warns us: “One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound wisdom.” We cannot isolate and become wise. Wisdom always comes in the context of relationships.
Wisdom + relationships = impact.
Wisdom - relationships = nothing.
Wisdom by itself is useless. True wisdom comes in the context of relationships, first with God and then with others. Walking with the wise leads to wisdom. Walking without the wise leads to trouble. The power of with is the key. I’ve realized that walking with each other through burdens and blessings, and the ups and downs, has changed my life and the lives of those I have journeyed with.
This is why I love FCA! We are all about relationships. We value fellowship (which is in our name) and we commit to teamwork (one of our values). We desire to see coaches and athletes grow in their relationship with Christ, and the primary way we do this is in Huddles (small group Bible studies). For more than 65 years, we have been growing together because we understand the power of with.
Let’s commit to do life with others. No more isolation. No more idleness. Let’s go! We can do this.
Lord God, I commit to walk with the wise so that I can become wise. I know if I walk with the foolish I will suffer harm. Convict me when I begin to isolate myself. Help me to have the best year ever by walking with others. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.