How much influence do you have? How much influence do others have on you? How much influence does the television have on you? Three question that are asked now to show the power of influence. Answer each question before going to the next question. Write down your answers. Question #1: Write down the five sermons that have influenced you over your life time. Question #2: Write down the five events that have made the most impact in your life. Question #3:  Write down five people that have influenced you the most in your life. Now that you have thought on these three questions which was the easiest to answer? It took less time to answer question number 3. Those people in our life that have influenced us the most are people that we remember the most. Someone may have you on their list! “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7).  We do have influence.

During this time of the year, when we are planting gardens, I always recall the time when my father would be plowing in the garden and we children would walk in his steps. I think there is even a picture of my brothers and myself doing this. It looks like door steps as there was daddy, then my oldest brother, then the middle brother, and then me as the youngest all walking behind daddy. Then fast forward a couple of decades. I am now the one plowing the garden, there are my children walking behind me in the freshly plowed ground. It was amazing to me the first time that happened. I also remember wanting to be just like my father when I was younger. He had a tremendous influence on my life as I am sure your father had on you. I would think that it would happen with girls and their mothers as well. Both parents have an enormous effect on us and on our life.

Most of us are what we are because of our parents. This does not always happen but it does for the most part. We seem to be generational. We are what our parents are. If our parents were Republicans then there is a great possibility that we will be Republicans. If we are Christians there is a great possibility that our parents were Christians. Again this is not always true but for the most part it is. It is because of the influence that they have had on us.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast our, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glory your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16). Here is the influence that we are to have upon the world. We are to be doing the things that glorify the Father and others will see this and God will be glorified! That is the power of a good influence. That is doing something good. That is doing something not to be seen of others but just to be doing good and God getting the glory! That is what the Christian life is all about.

This influence works in many ways. “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save the husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife” (1 Corinthians 7:16).  The mate that is a Christian can influence the other to become a Christian. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quite spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:1-4). How we treat others influences their life and they may want to become a Christian. This is God being glorified. This is a person doing the right thing and the right outcome is had.

Notice, “For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know that forwardness of you mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). Here is the way others lived and their enthusiasm for life that causes others to do what is right. This is the influence of others affecting the life of another group.  What would be said of us first as individuals? Would others comment that our life has such an influence on them that it caused them to become a Christian? Would our life and the zeal for living the Christian life have such an influence on others that it would cause them to do what is right? That is what was taking place with these churches and individuals in the first century. That is what God wanted to happen. We too can live our lives so that it will affect others in the same way. It would be grand to be there on the Judgment Day and hear others say they were a Christian because of the life a person. Or that they lived the Christian life because of the way you lived your life!

Notice, “By faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). Many a funeral sermon has been preached in which it is stated that the individual that died left it all behind. There will be no U-Haul behind the Hurst. Yet listen at the funeral home or the grave yard and listen to what others say about the individual that has just been buried. They might say that he or she was a good individual, a good father, or mother, or a good husband or wife, even a good business man. His or her influence has been left behind also and will carry for many, many years. Let us leave a good influence for others to follow.

Love, Keith

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