Bad Company?

The apostle Paul quotes a well-known proverb derived from a Greek comedy in 1 Corinthians 15:33. I like the NIV translation of it, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” Did you ever consider that you may be your own worst company? Paul Tripp repeats a line several times in his book, Dangerous Calling, for emphasis:
No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.
It’s a stinger, isn’t it? We are our own, constant conversation partner. The question is, Are we keeping bad company? What sorts of things are we convincing ourselves of throughout our day? Don’t be misled. Tripp convincingly pleads with his reader:
Whether you realize it or not, you are in an unending conversation with yourself, and the things you say to you are formative of the way you live. You are constantly talking to yourself about your identity, your spirituality, your functionality, your emotionality, your mentality, your personality, your relationships, etc. You are constantly preaching to yourself some kind of gospel. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of your own righteousness, power, and wisdom, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of deep spiritual need and sufficient grace (21).
This got me thinking about how deceptive our “inner voice” can be. As I chat myself up all day, I am also my own spin-doctor. Quite often, that inner voice is bad company. But I let her in, give her a comfty chair (BTW, comfty is way cozier than comfy) and a hot cup of coffee. I invite my own deceitful heart to speak. If these thoughts were spoken out loud, I would probably be less likely to entertain them. But since they are privately spun, I allow myself to keep bad company. This awareness only further convicts me that I need constant fellowship with the church. I love how Tripp puts it:
I have now come to understand that I need others in my life. I now know that I need to commit myself to living in intentionally intrusive, Christ-centered, grace-driven, redemptive community. I now know it’s my job to seek this community out, to invite people to interrupt my private conversation, and to say things to me that I couldn’t or wouldn’t say to myself (84).
Tripp’s book is mainly addressing pastors and those in the ministry. No one is exempt from the need to have the gospel preached to them every day. If we really are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2), we need God’s Word to shape it. We need the influence and creative power of his Holy Spirit, not only for regeneration, but for illumination and sanctification. We need to be under the preached Word and the sacraments that God has ordained to convey Christ and all his benefits. We need the gospel to interrupt our ordinary. And we need to allow other believers the permission to lovingly be a means of this interruption. Our God doesn’t really have good manners. He is an interrupter. You see it over and over again in Scripture. Don’t be misled by the good manners of your self-talk. I, for one, am thankful to be a girl interrupted, every day!