by David McCain (Mt. Pleasant, TX)
No matter who you are, you have some. They may be large or small, good or bad, but we’ve all got them. They can change the lives of others for better or worse, depending on how you use them. The souls of your friends may be either saved or lost because of yours. I am referring, of course, to your circles of influence! Like the circles on a pond when a rock is thrown in, they radiate out from you wherever you go, whoever you are, and whatever you do…
Perhaps the greatest power any of us control is that of our influence. It really is true that, somewhere, someone is watching YOU, and will be influenced by your actions. The Bible says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (I Cor. 5:6). In other words, our circles of influence, no matter how small, are working on others to cause them to do better or worse.
God expects us to use our circles of influence for His glory (Mt. 5:13-16, I Cor. 6:20, I Pet. 3:1-2). Because He does, we should put forth an effort to learn how to use our influence for the good of Christ’s church, for the glory of God, and for the gain of things spiritual. To have a godly, righteous influence, let me suggest the following necessary things.
The first step in having a good influence is to strive for consistency. To paraphrase James 2:18, “show you faith by your works.” Or, as we more commonly say, “practice what you preach!” It is impossible to have a good influence by professing one thing and doing something else. Thousands offer “lip service” to Jesus, but destroy their influence by failing to offer “life service” to Him (Mt. 15:7-9).
Secondly, guard your influence carefully, lest you cause a brother to sin. The apostle Paul wrote, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (I Cor. 8:9-13).
Finally, to promote a good influence in your life, strive to serve the needs of others. Jesus taught, “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Mt. 23:11). Christ showed by His humble example how a real servant should act. In his sermon to the household of Cornelius, recorded in Acts 10, the apostle Peter summarized the servant nature of Christ in these words, when he said of Him, “who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him” (vs. 38). Truly, Jesus had the greatest influence for good of any man who ever lived, because He was the greatest servant the world has ever known (I Pet. 2:21-25).
Are you using your circles of influence for good or for evil? I hope you will think seriously about it, then determine to be the best influence you can possibly be, for indeed, somewhere, someone is watching you!