“If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, Let Us Eat Drink, For Tomorrow We Die. Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals. Become sober-minded as you ought and stop sinning,’” 1 Corinthians 15:33-34.

When the apostle Paul started writing 1 Corinthians, he was writing a letter to a congregation in chaos. There were personal problems, divisions and doctrinal issues that had to be solved. And Paul, chosen to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, wrote this letter trying to correct some of the problems the Corinthians were facing. One of those problems was doctrinal, and the question at hand is the resurrection real (15:12)? So, Paul wrote this chapter trying to persuade the Corinthians to keep the faith, because they would one day stand before God to give an account for all they have done in their bodies. In arguing for the resurrection, Paul mentions in verse 32 that if there is no resurrection, he should not have been fighting with wild beasts at Ephesus, but instead he should have been living life to please self. However, he knows the resurrection to be true, so the conclusion is it was worth fighting those beasts and worth living life in a way pleasing to God.

Now Paul mentioned in verse 33 that “Bad company corrupts good morals.” For Paul to be the influential man he was supposed to be, he knew he should surround himself with a certain type of influence. So, his friends were godly men, like Silas, Timothy, Dr. Luke, and Barnabas. And men like Phygellus, Hermogenes, and Demas (2 Tim. 1:15; 4:10), who had fallen from the faith, they left Paul, because they knew Paul would no longer associate with them while they lived in sin.

All of us have potential to do great things for the kingdom of God. However, we need to be aware that the friends we make and keep can help us fulfill our potential to glorify God, or they can be detriments to our talents and faith. I quickly think of Samson, who was prohibited as an Israelite to have anything to do with people of other beliefs. However, he regularly found companionship in the arms of unbelievers. And because of that he never fulfilled his potential for God. He will always stand as a “what if” lesson. What if Samson only surrounded himself by faithful Israelites? But, the bigger questions for us are these: are we fulfilling our potential to do great things for God today? Or are we allowing corrupting influences and unbelieving friends to hinder our potential as well?