There are numerous verses about our influence in the Bible, and we often don’t realize the influence we have on others. We know that God should be the greatest influence we have, and that is based on the relationship we develop with Him. We should then be sharing that influence with others. Today, we’ll be talking about the influence of the world — the influence we should be having on others and the influence the world can have on us.
The Reality of Influence
The easiest time to give in to bad influences is when we’re away from our church family. It’s so much easier to be on our best behavior when we’re here together as a group of Christians. It gets harder when we’re out at school, at our jobs, among friends and colleagues who may not be Christians. When we are out in our daily lives, do we demonstrate the influence of God, or are we letting the world shape and mold us instead?
Romans 14:7 says we live and die for God rather than ourselves. Our souls are tied to God, and the way we live our lives testifies of the commitment we’ve made to Him. This testimony then can bring others to Christ, or we can drive them further away. I Corinthians 9:22 tells how Paul did everything he could to influence others and bring them to Christ by his words and example. This should be our mindset — that all we say and do should be to show others Christ in us.
Salt of the Earth
Jesus calls us the salt of the earth, and we must preserve the good taste of God’s word. He goes on to tell us we must be shining our lights, so others can see the way to God. This light is our lives. It is the example we set. Paul tells Timothy to set a good example in I Timothy 4:12 so his life can testify of Christ in him. The example we set shows others to what extent we truly serve our Savior and what he means to us.
Without realizing it, we may go along with the crowd in social situations where we just want to fit in and be accepted. Rather, we should be taking those opportunities — perhaps not to preach but to be an example that shows a better way of living. Whether I’m eating with an elder of the congregation or hanging out with my best buddy, my conduct should be the same. We may not always get the reaction we want, but we will know we are being true to our faith and our confession.
Taking Influence Seriously
It’s time we started being influences for good rather than allowing others to influence us otherwise. I Peter 3:15–16 calls us strangers to this world, so we should never give in to the priorities this pressures us to have. Galatians 5:7–9, on the other hand, speaks of someone turning Christians from the truth and how a little yeast can affect an entire loaf of dough. Little things can make a big difference, and we should take both our influence on others and the influence others can have on us seriously.
This means we may have to limit the time we spend around people, activities, and media that can have a negative influence on us. I Thessalonians 5:21–22 tells us to test everything, focus on the good, and reject evil. This can be easier said than done. Are the influences you are allowing in your life helping you get to Heaven? We are creatures of imitation, so we should be mindful of the influences we follow. This then will affect the influence we have on others, showing them Christ living in us so He may too live in them.
lesson by Mike Mahoney