I was reminded of a valuable lesson this past weekend. I had been feeling a bit off in my relationship with God. It was nothing urgent or serious YET. I could just sense myself slipping a little bit in the wrong direction. Truthfully, I think it was just because I had been filling my heart and mind with the things of the world rather than the things of God.
I was doing some stuff around the house on Saturday, and I was about to pop in a movie to keep my mind occupied while I worked. Before I could hit the play button, the conviction of the Holy Spirit fell on me, and I was moved to turn off the movie. Instead of the movie, I was inspired to put on a YouTube message by one of my favorite Christian leaders, Todd White. Quick shameless plug, if you have never listened to this guy preach the gospel please do your self a favor and turn on a few of his messages. I promise that it will encourage you to go deeper in your walk with Christ.
Anyway, as I listened to the message, I felt so encouraged in my spirit. I was convicted of my sin, but completely filled with hope all at the same time. It was like my soul had been starving and I was finally feeding it. The message by no means completely pulled me out of the funk I was in. However, it lifted me above the dark cloud of doubt that had crept in and allowed me to see the victory that Christ provided for me on the cross.
The whole experience reminded me of a very basic, yet important, principle of life. That principle is that whatever we put in is what comes out. Whether we like it or not, we were created to be influenced. I hear people all the time pridefully make statements about how they aren’t going to allow anyone to influence them. They say things like, “I am my own man (or woman), and no one can tell me how to live my life.” While I understand the desire to avoid being manipulated, we cannot avoid being influenced. We are all being influenced every second of every day. We are bombarded with all sorts of opinions, world views, and actions that we observe in the lives of others. The truth of the matter is that whatever we choose to surround ourselves with will eventually dictate what we think, say and do.
The only control that we really have is that we get to CHOOSE what we are going to allow to influence us. We have a choice of what sorts of influences we are going to allow in, which will ultimately dictate what comes out in the way we live. In my example, if I choose to continue filling my heart and mind with worldly things that provide no spiritual growth or encouragement, then I am not going to grow spiritually. I would be CHOOSING to be influenced by the world. I also have the CHOICE to allow truthful and wise counsel from God’s word and His people to influence me, and that will ultimately result in me growing in my relationship with Christ. Either way, I will be influenced. I have been given the responsibility to choose what will influence me.
We have all probably heard the phrase, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” It’s really the same principle. So my question for you today is, “What does your future look like based on who/what you are allowing to influence you?” Are the people, entertainment, church leaders, etc. that you are giving permission to influence you taking you deeper in your walk with God? Are they filling you with love, courage and empowerment? Or are the influences that you are allowing in stealing your love and joy, and discouraging you from pursuing Christ?
It’s really a simple question, and we have all been given the power to choose. If you have been making the wrong choices, it’s okay. There is grace! We need only to repent and turn back to God, and ask Him for the wisdom to choose the right influences. We are all being influenced. The only question is, “By what?”
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15: 33).
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12: 2).