“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who lead many others to do what is right will be like the stars for ever and ever.”
We are influenced all the time. I’m not sure the actual data, but we see a ton of advertisements all day. We follow people we look up to on social media. We watch our friends for the latest “in” thing, whether it’s advice on the movie to see this weekend or the latest productivity app. The things we consume all send us messages, positive and negative. The point I’m making is that there are influences all around us, but which ones are taking root? That’s the thing with our sin, it all often comes back to a passing thought we let take root in our heart. This idea has been sticking out to me recently. It’s made me think about my life and caused me to ask two important questions that I think we all need to ask ourselves. Who is influencing me and who am I influencing? Today I want to unpack those two questions and tell you what God has been speaking to me as a way to be wise when I look at those questions.
I work with students and kids. Influence is huge with them, while I get tons of messages, they have even more attacking them all the time. This next generation is under attack, a battle over their minds. Their decisions are being influenced, as well as the way they see themselves. It’s pretty sad when we look at it. Small, subtle influences. The “perfect” actors and personas on TV and YouTube, the messages in the music they listen to, even down to the filters on Snapchat and Instagram that take away any imperfections on our faces. I had a chance to speak to the students at Daystar a couple of weeks ago, in it I was able to share that our imperfections lead us to Christ, and these imperfections are turned into a more powerful story we can share with others. The same is true for each of us. We want so badly to get rid of the memory of our past because we are influenced by everything that if we aren’t perfect, we don’t matter. After I spoke, I had several students come up to me or post about how much God used the words I spoke. I realized that God was the one who was influencing me when I prepared before to speak and I had influenced those students because of the relationships I have established with them. I’m going to share the importance of asking yourself those two questions, because we are called to be influencers of the world. We each have stories to tell, so don’t become distracted by the world and learn to be a positive voice to those around you.
You pour out what you put in.
I love McDonalds. It’s not great, but that all day breakfast and those fries kill me. My fiancé and I want to get better at what we put in our bodies, because we are wanting to live a healthier life. I can’t eat McDonalds and have energy (sad day). The same is true with our hearts. If we live in a vacuum where we only hear negative messages, we will become negative people. We have to learn to be spiritually healthy. These things in our lives affect us, we just pretend that it doesn’t because living healthy means there is extra work. I used to love reading the Walking Dead comics, but after a while, I was convicted about them. Each issue just gets darker and darker, and it was causing me to feel off; my mood started to alter based on a comic book. I knew this wasn’t a good thing, so I cut it out. I got rid of the comics, because for me, I wasn’t being filled with good things that God wanted to share with me. I want to fill my mind with things that give me life. This means a consistent quiet time is vital. Without it, we can’t expect to hear from God. I’m not perfect, but I need to actively choose what I put into my heart, because I want my savior to be the only one influencing me.
Your words hold weight.
Everyone is watching you. We can’t pretend anything otherwise anymore. The things you do and say, both in person and online, will in some way influencing someone around you. Call is a sphere of influence. You have people in your life that you influence on a consistent basis. This can be a great tool, but it’s also something we need to be careful of. Your words have weight, so use it to glorify God. This makes me think differently, when I want to say something negative to someone, I check myself. When I post something online, I don’t just check the content of the thing I share itself, I check the site it comes from and potential advertisements that may hurt someone else. In everything you do, think about the people it will influence, and if it doesn’t bring glory to God or speak life, chances are you will negatively influence. Your words hold weight, so speak life.
The main point in all of this, is that we have to be so careful in life. We need to watch and be cautious of the influences in our lives, as well as watch out for the people around us. You can’t be someone else’s savior, but you can point someone else to the direction of the savior. Be wise, and before you do or say anything, check your heart and ask yourself if you are about to make a wise choice. The verse above is a great reminder for me as I am surrounded by students, coworkers, and friends; I need to be an influencer for Christ in every way. We aren’t perfect, but we can choose to rest in our perfect redeemer. Chose to be wise and lead others into wisdom.
Be an influencer.