You can tell much about a person by the companions they keep, so choose them wisely. Every person on earth runs with one of two groups—the right or the wrong. As you read through Scripture, you have found you must not be hasty to assume your finite understanding directs your path correctly. “The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:35).
The two groups are beautifully pictured in Christ’s teaching as he describes a typical day of worship at the temple. Brazenly, the Pharisee stands in the center of the courtyard, hands in the air, face turned upward, piously praising his value to God. The second group is represented by a man crumpled in a corner, obviously at the end of himself, without pomp, beating his chest crying out, “Be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
Which is the right group? Which embodies the wise who inherit glory and which the fool whose promotion is shame? Maybe if some of the members of the right group would step forward you could more readily select the right companions.
Job steps forward and announces, “I am vile” (Job 40:4).
Isaiah speaks up quickly, “Woe is me for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5).
David falls to his knees, “I have sinned greatly” (2 Samuel 24:10).
Paul gives his personal testimony, “I am the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
You cannot ask for more noble companions. In an age where high self-esteem is lauded, in Scripture, it is demolished. I don’t celebrate who I am alone, for that is the way of fools. My identity is who I am in Christ. My honor is found in the transformation of vile into valuable. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). “We are all as an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The wise inherit glory for God commended or demonstrated his love when he died for sinners (Romans 5:8).
The wise group is the right group. You are in good company when you humbly acknowledge who you are before God. “He giveth grace unto the lowly” (Proverbs 3:34).