This Sunday at the church I attend, some of the children were taught a lesson about Timothy and how he had several positive influences. His mother and grandmother were positive influences in his life. And Paul was a big influence on him. Timothy was a little young to be very influential amongst his peers, but Paul encouraged him to not let that prevent him from giving it his best.
This story had me thinking a bit about influences.
I think this will relate a lot to what I wrote about last week on actions.
First, let's take a brief look at what the bible has to say about bad influences.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
There are more but staying away from negative influences isn't what I'm writing about today. What I'd like to focus on today is OUR influence. How do I influence others? How do YOU influence others?
I think it's pretty obvious that our actions are going to be our most powerful influential force and how this topic is similar to what I wrote last week. Perhaps I could look at this as a continuation of last week.
Does the bible have anything to say about how we ought to influence others? Yes it does.
Several authors in the bible mention how by God's grace they were able to be an example for others:
1 Timothy 1:16
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
It's pretty obvious that many of the men in the bible were quite influential. Certain men in the bible are referred to all the time for different reasons of influence. They led others by example. And they were only able to be such good examples because of God's grace.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
In the NIV translation "a pattern of good works" is translated as setting an example. I strongly recommend reading through all of Titus 2 as it gives good examples of HOW to be a good example. Good stuff.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
This verse pretty much sums up the point I'm trying to make. "all men know that ye are my disciples...."
Isn't that what we want? Isn't that something we should strive for?
We should want to be influential. We should want to lead by example. We should want other people to KNOW that we are Christ's by how we live. At the beginning of this I mentioned a few verses on the types of bad examples that we want to stay away from. I mentioned these because we too need to be careful not to be such bad examples ourselves. And all of this goes back to actions. When we're driving and someone cuts us off, how do we respond? Our actions, every last one, will show some example to those around us. Our actions give an example of who we are and what our lives are like. If we go around and tell people that we are Christians and that Jesus saved us and He wants to save them too... but then by example, by our actions, we tell a different story, it will totally devastate our ability to reach others for Christ.
In a way, all of this keeps going back to "actions". What kind of example do you want to set? John 13:35 says that by loving one another ALL MEN will know that we are His disciples. The question for all of us is simple. Is that what people see when they look at us?
Our biggest example, or influence, that we have is going to be how we treat one another. How much do we love one another not only in our hearts but in our actions... John 13:35 sums up the importance of this week's study. And this is what I encourage you all to consider carefully as you read this. But I would also encourage you to read through Titus 2 for some other ways you can be a good example.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day and all the blessings that have come with it. Thank you for giving us the best examples for how we ought to live. I pray with all my heart that I might be a better example of your love. I pray for the whole body of Christ, that we would be one and would love one another in such a way that people would take notice. I pray that our example would draw people in and just really have them wondering what you are all about. I pray that as we strive to be more like you and to be better examples, that we would stay away from bad influences and also live in such a way that we would not set a bad example ourselves.
I pray that my example will not be in words alone but in actions. Thank you so much for you Grace and forgiveness.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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