Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Power of Influence

Series: Passing the Ethics Test

I met Mickey* shortly after graduating high school when I began working at a local metal fabrication plant. He wasn’t a Christian but acted more like one than I did…and I was.

Coming off several years of rebellious living, I needed a positive influence. Mickey provided that-and even more so after he became a believer. He didn’t judge me because of my questionable ways but quietly followed most of my ungodly speech or actions with “You ain’t right”…then kindly pointed out the correct manner by his personal example. Mickey lent a helping hand even when it wasn’t a part of his “job description.” Over the years, his encouraging influence directed my life’s course back toward righteous living.

Passing the ethics test entails guarding ourselves against the influence of bad company while simultaneously making sure we aren’t the bad company. Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD...Those who despise flagrant sinners (Psalm 15:1, 4 NLT). Bad company can corrupt good morals-and often does, but a positive influence may enhance the character of one’s bad associations.

We have an influence on those we encounter even if it’s not intentional. Since my influence on others is inescapable, I’ve established some goals. My example should lead people closer to God. Regardless of whether they ever enter a relationship with him or not, they should behave better when they’re around me…just as people once did when “the preacher was coming.” My example should also encourage rather than discourage. The world layers enough disappointment without me adding to it. I should also demonstrate godliness in my actions, words and attitudes. And occasionally, I may have to maintain separateness from those who might negatively influence me. Some acquaintances…and friends…are better left alone. Influence is essential. Ask God what you can do to improve yours.

Prayer: Eternal God, may we be the salt that flavors other’s lives and the light that illuminates Your love.
*Name changed to protect privacy.

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