By Brother John Shepard
It amazes me how much influence, good or bad, affects every aspect of our lives.
In Case You Don’t Believe Me
Remember you just ate dinner not even 30 minutes ago, youʼre unwinding from the work of the day in your favorite chair, the news is on the TV, and all is comfortable in your world. Seemingly out of nowhere, that—insert your favorite brand of potato chip here 🙂 —commercial comes on. Next thing you know, you remember that bag you saw in the pantry earlier, the juices begin to flow, and now youʼre not quite as comfortable as you just were.
I’ll Eat Just One
All you can think about is that stupid bag in the pantry until finally, the thought consumes you and you become a consumer yourself. The influence of that chip commercial, also referred to as marketing, definitely exists and is very effective.
It exists so much, in fact, that itʼs difficult to separate the things we do daily as being of necessity or by influence.
Uh, You Guys Are Breaking Commandments To Uphold Traditions
Now with these thoughts fresh in your mind, consider the difficult task that Jesus had when he began his ministry here on the earth. Not only did He have to begin by facing and overcoming his own influences, but He had an entire nation to persuade. This nation had customs, traditions, and rituals that had been influencing them for centuries. It may seem that what they had been doing for so long was right, simply because they had been doing it for so long.
If so, it begs a question. Why was He sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. –Matthew 15:24
Sermon On The Mount
If you study or read the Word of God, it is evident that Jesusʼ first message was to influence and change the minds of His disciples. Remember the Beatitudes in Matthew 5? Something mustʼve been wrong with their mindset and way of thinking if that was the first thing Jesus sought to change. How did he begin to change it? You guessed it, with good influence.
Influence, good or bad, is subtle. One small seed can turn into a full grown tree quickly.
It Looks Negative. Let’s Fix That.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines. –Song of Solomon 2:15
Because that verse uses the word spoil, it automatically indicates a negative light.
Try not to think about it that way for a moment.
If how youʼre thinking is wrong, and the results that follow are not what you desire, would you want something to spoil that mindset and get you to thinking correctly so that you could produce desirable results?
The answer is definitely not complicated.
What’s Weighing Down Your Thinking?
Identify your influences. Is what’s influencing you positive, producing desirable results? Is what’s influencing you negative, producing undesirable results?
Safer Than You Can Ever Think Or Imagine
God used his Son to influence many people (those that would accept him) to change their way of thinking and produce remarkable results. He can, and will, do the same for you if youʼll say YES to his influence.
Constantly accepting His influence will act as a hedge around us.
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. –Job 1:10
Accepting bad influences will tear down the hedge, exposing us to a dangerous outcome.
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. –Ecclesiastes 10:8
Something Has To Give. Make Your Choice.
Keep in mind that two different influences canʼt occupy the same space.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. –Matthew 6:24
One will eventually overcome the other and win, which is why you must constantly be accepting good influences and rejecting bad influences.
In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul referred to this situation as a battlefield or a war.
We’ve Got What We Need. Let’s Win This War!
It definitely takes WORK! However, with the strength of Jesus Christ, we can be more than conquerors!
Letʼs keep the Faith as our influence and Win this race!!
If you want to learn more about the Faith and you want to get know others who love God and are running this race together, visit us at The Church at Onslow.
We look forward to meeting more of Godʼs people.