This article is a universal article it doesn’t single out a sex, a faith, a culture, or a race. This is a universal truth. Many have associated this saying with relationships. I am in agreement, I am simply associating the phrase “If you lay down with dogs you will get up with fleas” to every type of relationship. Each one of us must examine who we associate with in all areas of our life. It has been said “birds of a feather flock together”. What’s the implication? Glad you asked. The implication is you almost always spend time with people who reflect your values and your belief so anyone who sees you in any particular setting makes the assumption that you are in agreement with the attitudes and behaviors of those you associate with and to make matters worse, depending on who you’re hanging around, the assumption is you are just like them. Don’t get your panties in a bunch you can’t blame people for making that leap. Truth is, if you weren’t in agreement, you couldn’t tolerate being in their presence on a regular basis. It would be a constant battle of the wills if that were so, and who wants to expend that kind of energy? This is not to say that you will never be in the presence of someone who lives their lives contrary to yours, let me just make this point to help you further understand. There are certain conversations friends of mine will have with me and then there are other conversations they won’t have. They respect where I am in life with my walk with Christ so out of that respect their spirit pricks them and says that is not appropriate dialogue around her. This is not to say that I am so heavenly bound that I am no earthly good, it simply reflects my constant character and people respond in kind. Let me state up front these examples do not reflect statements from one who is perfect, without sin, or from one who doesn’t happen to slip up every now and then. Always remember it’s never about where you began it’s always about how you finish. Here are a couple of examples; people rarely cuss in my presence and when they do they invariably say, “I’m sorry” or “excuse me”. Now cussing is within their character they just internally realized that they shouldn’t say things of that nature in my presence. This doesn’t make me special or mean that people are not comfortable in my presence, it simply means because of how I consistently carry myself, their spirit simply says, “not her”. Another case in point, people only send me certain texts, if they’re raunchy, over suggestive, and downright offensive, I tend not to get those, although I do know those who get them on a regular basis. My friends don’t have conversations with me glamourizing sex they have had outside of marriage. They may discuss their struggles in that area but we don’t celebrate anything that goes against the word of God. Once again not because I am perfect or judgmental they simply respect the character within. Scripture says let your light shine before all mankind that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Scripture also says we are the salt of the earth. What does salt do? It gives flavor and it preserves. Scripture further clarifies in Proverbs 13:20 “he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Or again Proverbs 14:7 appears to tie the ability to discern words of knowledge with the men you hang with. If you hang with fools, you will not discern the words of wisdom. You’ll believe anything, no matter how stupid. So once again, the focus is on who are you hanging with, and, are they a sweet savor to the nostrils of God or are they a fowl stench? Answer the following questions: • If trying to grow in your Christian walk who are you spending time with? Is their counsel laced with scripture or worldly principles? • If trying to strengthen your marriage who are you spending time with? Someone whose counsel biblically strengthens and encourages you or one who is an embarrassment to their spouse? • If trying to grow professionally who are you using as an example? One who is praise worthy from above or one who is giving you counsel that leaves a sour taste in God’s mouth? • If trying to raise your children whose advice are you seeking? Is your counsel coming from one who expects their children to do as they say and not as they do? Or is their counsel an example of one who stays at the feet of God in order to receive sound instruction? You get the point. So as I began if you lay down with dogs you will get up with fleas and ask any dog that’s a horrible existence.