The Power of Influence
by Zack Howard
In 1 Corinthians 15.33. we read “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.” Have you ever felt your example be influenced by the people you spend the most time with? Often we try to be lights in a dark world, but we must be careful to guard ourselves so we do not fall to temptation. So how do we do this? What does this passage teach us regarding the power of influence?
1. Our good intentions can be corrupted.
When we are trying to be examples, we may often think that we can fix someone or bring them into the fold. We must be careful, as Paul warns us, we can be deceived in our intentions. If we are continually focused on helping someone else, they can be an influence on who we are. We may be influenced by someone’s charisma and friendliness. We may be influenced by their actions, what they say, what they listen to. We must be careful that in our attempts to bring others to Christ, we are not taken away from God. We may have the purest intentions to help others, but even the best intentions can be corrupted. In Galatians 5.9, we are told that just a little leaven leavens the entire lump. A small influence can destroy the entire goal. Because of this, we must be careful.
2. Shine our lights, but be wary of temptation.
In Galatians 6.1, Paul writes about bearing one another’s burdens, but being careful not to fall into temptation. Our goal is to continue bringing others to Christ. But in doing so, we can be deceived and corrupted by Satan. We must be cautious not to overstep and fall to temptation ourselves, when we are trying to be good influences to all those around us. Satan knows our weaknesses, and seeks us out trying to devour us (1 Peter 5.8). Because he is seeking to devour anyone he can by trapping them in temptation, we have to be careful. Other’s influence on our lives can cause us to fall in our own walks. While shining our lights in the world, we must be wary.
How do we shine our lights and be cautious at the same time? How do we avoid falling to the evil influences of the world, but remain a spiritual influence for it? By remaining imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1), and continually seeking the kingdom of God (Matthew 6.33). Let’s continue shining our lights, and strive to avoid temptation and evil influences.