How do we let our God influence us, and the how do we spread that influence He has over us? Today, we’re going to look at where we see God’s influence in the Bible and how we let that change our lives. In subsequent lessons, we’re going to see how we take that influence to others. It’s a flow from God to us to others, and then those we touch spread that same godly influence to even more people.
Influence is something that can be difficult to define, but it’s easy to see when we’re on the outside looking in. What’s tough is that we ourselves may have a hard time recognizing when and how we’re influencing others and vice versa. Influence is a form of impact — positive or negative. It is the capacity to have an affect over a person or event.
We see these influential impacts when we look back on how someone else has affected us. We might talk about such influences when someone leaves a jobs or retires. We may hear such things at a funeral. In retrospect, we can see the influence — good or bad — others have had on us. Whether we mean to or not, we are always influencing others, so we should be trying to reflect God in our lives and make that influence a good one.
Back in II Kings 18–20, Hezekiah is a king where we can see God’s positive influence on a life. He takes down the idols in the kingdom of Judah. He turns to God for help against overwhelming odds. Even when disheartened beyond hope, he turns to God and prays. In stark contrast to many of the kings we see in that era, Hezekiah allows God to mold his life. Hezekiah is a great example of someone who softens his heart and allows God’s influence in his life.
As another example, look at how Paul describes his own conversion to Christ in Acts 26. He recounts his commitment to persecuting Christians — even to death. He had been wholly convinced in the rightness of his actions, but everything changes when he meets Christ. He lets Christ completely change Him, and, by Acts 26, he becomes one of those he had previously persecuted. He was facing many of the same maltreatments he had once implemented. That’s the influence of Christ on an open heart. It can make us wholly change our lives and go in a new direction.
An Active Influence
God’s should be an active influence in our lives. His influence on us is in direct proportion to our relationship with Him. Are we seeking that relationship, or are we letting the world crowd Him out? Do I trust Him to light my path, or am I seeking my own solutions? The time we spend stressing about tomorrow is better spent building a relationship with God and trusting in Him.
Where is your relationship with God in contrast to that of the world? Where do others see your priorities — where and with whom do you invest your time, the time you spend in study and prayer versus wordily pursuits, the amount of influence God has on you? His invitation is always open to you. He is always there for you to trust and lean upon, but it begins with a relationship. When we start building a real relationship with God, He will mold and change us. We will begin to grow, and then we can start to share that influence with others.
lesson by Donn Koonce