I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 ESV
Influence. We are influenced by many things in this life and we influence many others with our choices. Romans 12 discusses how we need to not let the world influence us but be influenced by the things of God. We need to let the Lord influence every area of our life. From what we entertain ourselves with to how we interact with others. I know I fail at this from time to time, just like we all do, but I'm going to share some ways we can keep the influence of the world out and keep the influence of God in our lives! This world is a scary place and we can waste no time in trying to fight off the influence of it in our lives and the lives of our loved ones!
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
Keeping out the Influence of the World:
- Don't keep close company with bad influences. Now this doesn't mean that we shouldn't associate with people who are caught in sin. Jesus himself ate with sinners. No, what I mean is that our closest friends should be Christ honoring, good intention having people. If we surround ourselves with people of good character then we're less likely to be corrupted by the bad morals of others. We need to be intentional not to exclude unbelievers from our lives, for how else can they be exposed to the gospel? However, if they are bad influences we need to limit our contact with them and guide our conversations with them back to Godly, edifying things.
- Limit secular entertainment. I'm not saying all non Christian music, television, or books are bad. What I'm saying is that as Christians we are called to be set apart. That means even our entertainment needs to be God honoring. We should avoid listening to, watching, or reading things that contain themes we know to be explicitly against the word of God. That doesn't eliminate all secular entertainment, but it does eliminate quite a bit. When we know something is against the Word of God, we should avoid it, not make excuses for it. Mothers and wives, this goes for your husband and children too. Help them to understand the need to stay away from ungodly entertainment. We can't control what our husbands due with their free time, but we can be an influence of good for them. With our children though, we can control what they listen to, watch, and read within the walls of our home. So we should make sure they are influenced by the world in the least possible way.
- Read the Word of God. Reading the Bible is the single most important thing we can do when it comes to keeping out the influence of the world. Study it, breathe it, live it. Make the Word part of your mind so that you can keep out the things that go against it. 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness". That means if we memorize scripture and keep it in our hearts God will use it to teach us, correct our thoughts, and train us in the ways we should go. The world hates God, so it will try to influence you to do the opposite of what His Word says to do. That's why we have to make time each day to read His Word and listen to Him as He speaks to us. The more we fill up on God, the less room we have for the world!
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age Titus 2:11-12 ESV
Keeping the Influence of God in our Lives:
- Keep a quiet time daily. I don't believe you have to have a quiet time every morning, that's unrealistic for some of us. However, I do believe you need to have a quiet time with the Lord daily, or at least try to. No matter what time of day, we need to give God our very best time. For me that means after work when I get home. For others that's the first part of their morning. For some it's right before bed. Whatever time you do it, spending time with Him is the single best way to receive His influence on your life. How else do you get influenced by someone unless you spend time with them? So crack open the Bible, get a devotional, grab a journal, and just spend time with Him!
- Let mentors pour into your life. Godly influences on your life can help you to become a godly influence for others. You learn the habits of a Christian life. You see how it looks in the day to day from your mentors stories. Now you don't have to go up and ask someone to be your mentor. Official mentorships are great, but if you have godly older women in your life on the regular they can already be your mentors. Your attitude towards those relationships is all that needs to change. Imitate their good qualities and characteristics. Implement in your life the practices they have that are God honoring. Receive their advice and let them be your role models, not secular celebrities.
- Fill your free time with God honoring things. Instead of using social media to compare your life to others or rant and rave, why not use it to glorify God. You can post scripture, or link to podcasts, or share stories about how God is working in your life. Why not read a Christian book, fiction or non-fiction, that will edify your relationship with God or others? Maybe listen to Christian worship music and spend time in reverence to our Lord. You could also watch TV programs or movies that have Christian themes to them, or at least don't have bad worldly themes to them. As Philippians 4:8 says " Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." We need to fill our mind with what is lovely, not what is impure. So think about this when you are choosing what to do in your free time.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24 ESV
Build your life on the rock, that is the Word of God! Let Him influence your life through what you read in His word. Let Him influence how you spend your free time and who you keep as close friends. Let God influence you so that you can influence others in a Christ like manner. Our world is in desperate need for godly role models. Why not be one?
How are you practicing being a godly influence to those around you? What would you like to do to be a better influence on those around you? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to discuss this with you! We can all learn something from each other!
Ps. Have you checked out the series on Proverbs 31 I just finished up? Take a look at the first post in the series here!