UNDER THE INFLUENCE!
I recently attended a secular leadership meeting to which the topic was on influence, and even though it was designed for the work environment, I could see spiritual applications throughout the session. Here is my takeaway from that meeting. I feel positive we’ve all heard the term under the influence and most likely in a negative connotation. Although this is sometimes true, we are all (every day we’re breathing) under the influence of something or someone. Dictionary.com defines influence as, 1- the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others: 2- the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: With that being said, it is easy to see we are all being influenced “and” influencing others every day. The fact is; some people are “contributing influencers” long after their death. The bible is filled with such people, as are our country's history books.
It seems however there is a hitch in the giddy-up when it comes to influencing as it has in many forms, but, is broken down into two dominant categories, GOOD and BAD! As the definition state, influence is applied through action, behavior, and opinion but the truth is these three must be properly aligned in the order of opinion first, the action is second, and then behavior if we’re to ever understand influence correctly. Some miss the boat of understanding, that our greatest tool of influence in our day-to-day lifestyle. As our opinion is the starting point of our action, it becomes highly conducive to controlling our behavior, which is a window to what we believe to be true. However, the flip side of this coin is we are influenced in the same manner. We hear people talk and unknowingly absorb and store the opinions they have without first filtering their validity or value. Sorry, but that is how the brain works. Think for a moment of something from back in your past that you heard but paid little attention to. Then years later you discovered you have been mindlessly applying it to your life and it wasn’t true. This has happened to me many times over the years and my favorite is, as a child I was always (repeatedly) told “God helps those who help themselves.” Which is wrong! Fact is: I couldn’t help myself! I couldn’t get out of the mess I had made because I was continuously under the influence of the wrong people. If you desire to continue getting what you’ve always gotten, do nothing and you will. I love what my pastor (Joe Dillard) says, “I have bad news and good news for you; the bad news is nothing will get better until you do, but the good news is you can get better!” Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 (NLT), Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The truth is all of us are seeing through the glass dimly. We are so pressed for time that we take far too much at face value. The question that has jumped into my mind and nested there, is what type of influence am I to others, and will it make a positive difference for them tomorrow? The bottom line to influence is motive! Is it selfish or selfless? Take the idiom of leading a horse to water, it is factually basic instructions. My job is not to make the horse drink, it is merely to lead the horse to water. No more or no less! Our influence should be to naturally show or lead others in a better direction through our opinion, actions, and behavior. Again, Paul warns us in Romans 12:3 (NLT), Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
I feel God’s intent this week is to bring the importance of influence to our awareness and to have us examine the purity of our opinions, actions, and behavior. We also need to review the influences we’re allowing to impregnate our being and sanitize that which is not good for the building of God’s kingdom.
The influence we receive should be such that it will bolster an upwelling of goodwill to draw us to a deeper level of living for Jesus! A good start is found in Romans 12:9-10 (NLT), 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.
Today I pray, Romans 12:15-16 (NLT), 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Father, may we earnestly seek your influence this week. Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!
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