I once came across a writing from Marsha Burns that was quite profound. So much so, that it really captured my attention.
It said; “Keep yourself from defilement. This may require pulling back from activities and relationships that are not beneficial to you. Stop and consider what and who influences you the most and make sure the input is positive and not negative. Your relationship with Me, says the Lord, requires time and spiritual effort as you allow Me to be the greatest influence in your life.”
The word influence means the following:
IN’FLUENCE, noun [Latin influens, influo, to flow in; in and fluo, to flow.] Literally, a flowing in, into or on, and referring to substances spiritual or too subtle to be visible, like inspiration. In a general sense, influence denotes power whose operation is invisible and known only by its effects, or a power whose cause and operation are unseen. Moral power; power of truth operating on the mind, rational faculties or will, in persuading or dissuading, as the influence of motives, of arguments, or of prayer. To move by moral power; to act on and affect, as the mind or will, in persuading or dissuading; to induce. (Webster’s 1828 dictionary)
Think about that! Influence literally flows into a person. A subtle flowing in. Although it is very subtle, it denotes power over a person. Power that becomes visible and known by its actions. Influence literally moves a person to act.
As I was studying this word, I came across a scripture in the New Living Bible that I want to share with you. Jeremiah 15:19; this is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you, so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!”
In our daily life we come across many influences. People influence us. Situations influence us. Drinking alcohol influences people. We say they are under the influence, and that is truth. Their actions are the result of the liquor and its influence. It is something that has flowed inside of them and causing actions on the outside of them.
My question today is this; what is influencing you today? What are the visible actions of the influence you are under? What is flowing in you that is causing an action on the outside of you?
If people are yelling and angry, they have been influenced by someone or some situation. If someone is upset and crying, they have been influenced by something. If someone is walking in total peace amid chaos, they too have been influenced by something. What is your influence? What is your action and what is moving you to that action?
Just a few days ago I was making my bed and the Lord said to me; “it is what is on the inside that defiles a man.”
I knew it was scriptural, but I didn’t understand where God was going with this.
Matthew 15:17-20 says; Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.
So, what is on the inside? Heart issues. These are the things that defile. Issues in our heart that need to be healed or resolved. Those heart issues often begin with what or whom we allow to influence our lives.
I wonder if we realize that when someone does an evil act, it first began in their heart. To a great deal, it began with the influences that they had in their life. They are simply acting on those influences. It could have been what they did with their time. Or perhaps the people they allowed into their life. Whatever it was, their action was a direct result of the influences in their life.
I can promise you if you hang around people who sin or even people who lie and gossip, before long you will find yourself doing the same things. I have found in my own life, if I hang around negative people for too long, negative thoughts will attempt to grab my attention. On the other hand, if I hang around positive people, and especially people who are strong in the Lord, I stay upbeat and positive.
Also, I have found, if I am having a bad day, if I will call a friend who I know is strong in the Lord, she will often lift me up. But what I won’t do when I am struggling, is call a friend who is negative. I carefully guard the intimate influences in my life.
Our daily influences are very important. We must allow and even invite God and His word to be the ruling influence in our lives. If we do that, we will live in victory.
Today, let’s remember what Marsha Burns said. Keep yourself from defilement. This may require pulling back from activities and relationships that are not beneficial to you. Stop and consider what and who influences you the most and make sure the input is positive and not negative. Your relationship with Me, says the Lord, requires time and spiritual effort as you allow Me to be the greatest influence in your life.
May this become our daily prayer. Let’s spend our time and our efforts on the One who should be the greatest influence in our life!
“Think before you speak. Your words will plant a seed of influence in the life of the hearer. Either for success or failure.” KP