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Closest friends help us pursue godly path

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Gus is a full-size poodle. The closest thing to him being considered a rodeo dog would be his size—he could have been bred with a pony.

He may not know how to work a cow. He certainly isn’t a typical cowboy or bull rider’s first choice from the pound, but Gus is one heck of a companion dog for his rodeo cowboy owner.

The pair make quite a site, and Gus attracts a lot of attention because he is unusual as a rodeo dog, but he’s also even-tempered, easy to get along with and his owner, Hayden, couldn’t find a better traveling partner.

Proverbs 13:20 says: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

There’s more than a little to be said from scripture about who we choose to have closest to us.

The Proverb is just one instruction about it, and it’s pretty simple: you’re better to be surrounded with wise people than fools. Fools will lead you to trouble.

Most rodeo cowboys (and cowgirls) know they’re better off connecting with a successful competitor than someone who isn’t serious or is new to the sport.

Traveling with someone who knows the sport better than you can share wisdom in the form of technique and skill to help you win and can keep you motivated and encouraged.

But because a typical rodeo cowboy is driven by competition and the need to succeed either personally or against those following him in the money, we can easily forget that the reason this is in scripture isn’t so we can win a rodeo — it’s there to help us stay on track in our faith.

Choosing to have people in our life who are wise in a biblical sense is going to help us grow in our faith tremendously. These are people that will know how to give us constructive advice in a way we can understand.

These are people who will know what is in the word of God and be able to help us understand and, especially, apply it.

To follow someone who isn’t a believer, one who truly knows and lives by the word as best as our sinful natures allow, is like a cattleman seeking advice from a sheep farmer or a barrel racer taking advice from a bull rider.

They may even mean well, but they don’t have much to offer, and it will lead to failure at the ranch, in the arena or, from a Christian perspective, in our walk with Jesus.

But remember, this isn’t about shutting out the people around us who aren’t like us. The cattle rancher can be friends with the sheep farmer; he just needs to know where to take his advice from.

A Christian taking advice from a vegan atheist might learn a different way to eat, but his soul isn’t going to be fed.

Scott Hilgendorff is the pastor for Cowboys of the Cross, a rodeo/bull-riding ministry that leads cowboy church services and maintains an online presence to share the gospel among the ranch and rodeo community. It can be found at CowboysOfTheCross.com .