Influence Matters

We are constantly surrounded by people and things that influence us.  Family, friends, and media have a powerful effect on our thoughts, the way we live, and how we view the world around us.  We understand that we are ultimately responsible for how we think and live, but we cannot deny the power of influence.  The apostle Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth remains true today.  He wrote, “do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump:” (1 Cor. 5:6). Influence matters.

Who or what influenced you over the past year?  It could be that there were negative influences in your life.  What do you plan to do about them this year?  Again, Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth are helpful.  He used words and phrases such as “removed,” “cleanse out,” and “purge” in reference to the sinful influence that the Corinthians were dealing with (cf. 1 Cor. 5).  Is this something we need to do?

Removing negative influences from our lives is an essential action that must be essential in order to live wisely.  People can be a source of both positive and negative influence.  Hopefully, we are taking steps to remove the leaven from our lives.  But what are we doing about adding godly people to our lives?

There  were many people who influenced David in a good way.  His great-grandmother, Ruth, must have been a godly influence in his life.  We do not know if she was alive when David was young, but it is not hard to imagine that he had heard about her devotion to Naomi and her turning to the god of heaven.  What influence did this godly woman have on him?  Samuel ministered before the Lord, grew in the presence of the Lord, and grew both in stature and in favor with the Lord.  Samuel was one of the first people that David fled to when Saul sought to kill him.  What influence did this godly prophet have on David?  Jonathan was David’s good and close friend.  He gave David counsel on several occasions.  What influence did he have on David?  Abigail, who would become David’s wife was a light to him in one of his darkest moments.  What influence did this wise woman have on him?  These people were positive influences in David’s life and they helped shape the direction of his life.

Everyone needs a Ruth, Samuel, Jonathan, or Abigail in their life.  The good news is that they are all around us.  The local church is filled with such people.  Yes, the local church can have a Diotrephes in it.  However, for every Diotrephes there is a Gaius and a Demetrius (cf. 3 John).  Do something different this year.  Get to know your family members here at Stallings Drive.  Stay and talk with someone new each week.  Invite them into your home.  Go to lunch once a week with a different member.  Seek out our elders for wisdom.  Visit a widow often.  Positive influences are all around us.  Will we be blessed by them? – Jay Taylor  January 11, 2015