How does the World Influence You?
Are you allowing the great influence of Lent to help you prepare for Easter this year? This week marks the beginning of the 40 day Lenten season with Ash Wednesday and many Christians began the season by attending services and purposely denying themselves an indulgence or vice to symbolize a sacrifice and a life of simplicity. The purpose and influence of Lent is for spiritual growth and Godly relationship building with a season of fasting, self-denial, conversations with the creator, and a simple lifestyle. It is a spring cleaning of sorts for the soul.Â A time to take a spiritual inventory and then to get rid of the things that harm our relationship with Christ. The idea of the Lenten disciplines is to create a whole transformation of the entire person to be more like Christ. It is easier to hold onto the Lenten disciplines if you have others surrounding you that are also practicing the disciplines to influence one another to take the vow seriously.
The influences of the world can be difficult at times even in ordinary everyday life practices. Sometimes the influence seems harmless enough but do we recognize them as a weakness? I read recently a story about a man and his wife that I readily identified with; perhaps you have also felt the pressure of influence as they did.Â
The couple was celebrating the end of the week in a nice restaurant.Â They had finished most of their meal when the waiter appeared and said, ”Kindly allow me to tempt you with a little dessert.” The desserts were not little nor were they a bargain. The waiter in retrospect didn’t seem to be wearing a red suit, sporting horns, or carrying a pitch fork but he certainly seemed well versed in the tempting department. The couple not wanting to be rude agreed to listen politely before refusing the temptation since the waiterÂ was so nice and had worked very hard,.Â The waiter described the carrot cake as ”sinful”, the crÃ¨me caramel as ”irresistible”, and the chocolate Bavarian torte as ”obscene.” Then the waiter concluded with the enormous, luscious, and ever popular dessert known to them as ”Death by Chocolate.” The waiter assured the couple that it was certainly worth dying for.
The couple, who up to this point in their meal were completely satisfied, felt the strong influence of the waiter’s dessert descriptions impounding them. They decided they would have just a little something, one little thing with two forks would surely be justified. They would each take just one bite for they really were only ordering for the waiter. Six dollars and seconds later the dessert was gone, the waiter was gone, and they sat with the guilty grins of influenced indulgence.
The influences of the world can be strong and often not hold the seemingly innocence of an overly rich dessert. We all have certain weaknesses that create vulnerability in our will power that can be easily attacked. This is why it is important that we practice spirituality, stay in a close relationship to God, and keep our eyes focused on Him who is the most important. Â Many times we allow ourselves to be led around by the world as it tells us how we should live and act. The world and its influence can be subtle but strong in its manner with things as seemingly innocence as television entertainment or books. Do you allow the world to influence or push you around or do you influence the world?
Whether we realize it or not, the things we say and do leaves an impression on others as we can be as easily influenced by the world as we can influence the world. A sign that hangs in an executive’s office reads, ”What I am about to say represents one four-billionth of the world’s opinion.”Â It is important that when we speak and act that we remember who exactly we are representing.
Our focus verse this week is in Jeremiah where God tells Jeremiah to go and influence the world and not allow it to influence him. God expected Jeremiah to turn to Him and give Him his full trust. God wants Jeremiah to be His spokesperson with good words. Likewise God wants us to be His spokesperson too. When we go into the world we too are to speak and behave in such a way that reflects Christ at all times because we are to influence the world. We are not to allow the world to influence us with its speech and actions.
Sometimes our circumstances and situations are such that we can lose sight of God but if we take our eyes off of God our problems will quickly take His place. This allows us to feel sorry for ourselves and opens up the door to allow the world to influence and lead us astray. Instead we are to keep our eyes focused on God so that our actions and words will reflect Him instead of allowing our problems to be the reflection. We are to trust God no matter what we may face. Our purpose on earth is to serve and glorify God and so our speech and actions should reflect such. When our focus is on God then our reflection allows us to be the witness commanded by Christ that we are to be. The influence then becomes us to the world instead of the other way around.
You must influence them; do not let them influence you! Jeremiah 15:19c (NLT)
How do You Influence the World?
It seemsÂ influencing the worldÂ should begin with one word, availability.Â There are people out there, waiting to hear the words you speak and are watching the actions of those who follow Christ. You are your own worst enemy in the field of witness if you are just not bold enough to speak or act on your belief in Christ. Â Keeping your focus on God and trusting Him in all aspects of your life will allow your actions and words to reflect who He is in your life. For your purpose here is to influence or teach others about the creator so that they too may know Him. The key though is to keep your focus on God and not falter when things don’t go the way you wish or expect them to in your life for this is when the gate opens that allows the world to have influence over you.
So coupled with availability how exactly should you influence people?Â YouÂ can take a few lessons from Dale Carnegie’s secrets in How to Win Friends and Influence People.
- Begin with a smile
- Show a real interest in another person
- Learn a person’s name and remember it
- Listen instead of speaking
- When you do speak do so with simple words and understanding.
Influencing the world requires a boldness but one in which anyone can do as these are simple things to influence someone on a personal level.
So why aren’t you doing this? What keeps you from influencing others? Maybe being an influence scares you.
- You feel you don’t know what to say
- You are afraid of not being accepted by others
- You don’t think you have the skills or knowledge
- You don’t want to be pushy
God has an answer for all that too for He promises that He will be with you to protect and rescue you if speaking for Him. It all comes down to trusting God to lead you in the right direction. Sometimes you do not have to speak at all to showÂ actions that are Christ approved.
This week our focus verse challenges you to stay focused on GodÂ so you can be the influence the world needs.Â It convicts you to remember and be in full knowledge that how you speak and act influence others positively or negatively depending on the reflection. Your motivation to influence the world comes from being fully aware that your job here on earth is to teach others about Christ. But even through all of this you can find the comfort you need in knowing that God is with you to protect you in all times because in the end God triumphs over all.
Love in Christ,
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William A. Ward
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you influence the world or does the world influence you? Join us in discussion on following the great commission and being an influence for the world.