There is no doubt that we are, and have been influenced by many issues from the day we were born. Now just think about it for a moment. Your parents, maybe your grandparents, have had a big impact on your life. Think about how you grew up, what your parents said to you, what you can remember from your childhood and compare your childhood with that of your friends and acquaintances, and how these people’s lives have developed in comparison to yours.
Now I think it’s a fascinating study. If you take time to think about it. What you see, read and hear in the media, TV, radio, Internet, the newspaper, books, magazines – all of them influenced you and your life. You and I have influence over others, even when we don’t know it.
Examples of influence in our own lives
Her mother took her young son shopping, and after a day in the stores, a checkout girl handed the little boy a lollipop. “What do you say?” The mother said to the boy, and he said, “Just put it on my credit card.” Now like it or not, that mother had influenced her boy by her actions through the day.
Another mother was taking her boy to school. The dad had to go to work early, and the little boy kept looking around on the way to school. He said, “Mum, where are the idiots?” The mother replied, “What do you mean?” “Well,” said the little boy. “Usually, Dad and I see at least three or four idiots on the way to school.”
So you see whether it’s over your kids, your co workers, your family. You do have an influence. The question is, what direction is your influence leading people? And of course, there are influences that are positive and negative. Not all influences are good. For example, you can’t do anything about the negative influences of the past except recognise how they’ve influenced you and make a positive attempt to overcome them.
We’re all shaped by our experiences in life, and the memories good and bad have permanently altered our outlook towards life and the future. That’s what the psychologists are saying. What really influences you personally now? I think it’s a great question. Here is where the Christian faith offers the most exciting concept.
Influence in the Christian Faith
When you take God seriously, you’ll find he has an immediate and powerful influence on your life. Speak to any committed Christian about this, and I’m sure you’ll get the same message. Believing in God and accepting his son, Jesus Christ into your life makes an enormous difference to the way we think and live. It means taking seriously the teachings of Jesus recorded in the Bible and then doing our best to apply them in our day to day living.
It means loving God, placing him first as a number one priority. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” We believe that God has called all people to love him not merely as an emotion but as a commitment, an expression of our faith.
And as Christians, we believe God exists as the sovereign and supreme being. If God exists, as revealed in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, he is worthy of our love and commitment and our devotion. Each person is called to love God, with all their being also in light of his love toward us, were called to extend similar love, mercy and justice to other people, even when they don’t deserve it.
Think of the influence you have on that person who dislikes you. You don’t hold a grudge, but you try and extend kindness and love back to that person in return. This is powerful stuff. You need to earn people’s trust in order to effectively influence them, and the way to do it is to model a lifestyle of integrity for them.
Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so that you’ve got the right motives for what you say and do, and for him to help you become a person who is more honest, humble and self controlled. Seek to bring coherence between your public and private life and between every aspect of your personality so that you behave with integrity.
A professor was closing his class for the day asked his class “are there any further questions?” One student said yes. “What is the meaning of life?” All the students started to laugh and gathered their books to leave, and the professor sat for a moment. “Are you serious?” He said “Yes”. The professor took a small piece of glass out of his pocket. It was a piece of mirror that had been shaped by scraping its edges into a smooth circle.
The professor thought for a minute, letting the light from the mirror play across the ceiling and then onto the faces of his students. And then he said this. “I found this when I was a kid and scraped it against a rock until I shaped it. I was fascinated with it because I could hold it and reflect light into the darkest corner of a room with it.” “And one day,” he said, “I realised this was like my life. I decided to spend my life just reflecting the light into as many dark places as I could.”
Let us pray,
Today, Lord, I acknowledge the many influences in my life. The good, the bad, the indifferent Lord. May they be that force that moulds me into a better person. I pray for Jesus sake, Amen.