There is a subtle influence to take on the values and habits of those we inter-relate with and so "Becoming like them...With bad company corrupting good character" (Ps 115:8; Prov 22:24,25; Isa 6:5; 1 Cor 15:33). “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord…” (Ps 1:1,2). This doesn’t exclude contact with unbelievers because how else are we to build relational bridges with them so we can effectively share Christ. Rather it warns against becoming engrossed in their lifestyle, forming close bonds and taking on their values (2 Cor 6:14-18). However, the Bible expressly instructs not to eat or associate with a person who calls himself a Christian and is sexually immoral…” (1 Cor 5:9-11).

As “He who walks with the wise grows wise”, intentionally be in the company of those who ‘carry’ a godliness so that what they have will rub off into your spirit (Prov 13:20). Those we mingle with influence and affect us greatly as we unconsciously adsorb their attributes. This is the influence or power of association.  If a person works in a perfume factory, they will come home smelling nice! What is around them will be unknowingly transmitted and affect others too.

The concept of mentoring or discipleship is based on close association where the novice learns from the more experienced role model and applies that knowledge in their own life (Phil 4:9). Through living life together, their traits will rub off onto you through the mutual encouragement and support of fellowship. 

It is a tendency of human nature to turn from what is good and right to embrace the sin biased nature that is detestable to the Lord (Hos 9:10). God warned the Israelites to destroy the heathen races so they would not become defiled by and adopt their evil customs (Num 33:52; Deut 7:1-6,16). Solomon was led astray by non-god fearing wives (1 Kgs 11:3,4). Although we are in the world we are not to

Are my friends influencing me for good or bad?

allow its deteriorating values to dictate our behaviour, squeezing us into its mould (Rom 12:2). Rather we are to be salt and light, creating a thirst in people to know Jesus and pointing the way to Him (Mt 5:13-16).

See also: fellowship, friends/friendship, impartation, influence, mentor, participation, peer pressure, relationships.