The Power of Influence

Influence is more powerful than we may think…Everyone on earth has influence. Paul said, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7). You will influence others—whether for good or for evil.

Our influence will impact our families for generations after we are gone. When we follow the Lord, our life has a positive influence on our children and our children’s children. If we refuse to follow and be obedient to God, it also influences our children and our children’s children. Bright-eyed children are watching mom and dad. Precious little ones are watching grandma and grandpa. Older adults are influencing young adults. Yes, we are all influencing others in some way. The important question is “Are we leaving a Godly influence that will pass through the generations after we are gone?”

Jeroboam was an evil king who desecrated the altar of God in Bethel by turning it into a place of idol worship. God, in His mercy, sent a young prophet to give a warning message to Jeroboam. The young prophet did as God instructed and delivered the message to the king. However, the king wasn’t at all pleased with the message and refused to listen. Therefore, God used a drastic measure and withered the king’s hand and subsequently healed it. Then King Jeroboam invited the young prophet to his home to eat. The prophet answered, “For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” (1 Kings 13:9). The young prophet started for home, declining food and drink, and leaving by a different direction, just as God instructed him.

But now the story takes a tragic turn. You see, there was an old prophet in the land who heard about the encounter between Jeroboam and the young prophet. He got on his donkey and rode to find the young man. When the old prophet found him, he invited the young prophet back to his house to share a meal. Again, the young prophet declined, and explained that God told him not to eat or drink anything while he was in Bethel. But the old prophet said: I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water (1 Kings 13:18-19).

 The old prophet used his influence to lead this young prophet (the next generation) into disobedience. The old prophet’s use of influence destroyed that young man’s life. When the young prophet left, a lion met him on the road and killed him. When the news reached the old prophet, he went and found the corpse, brought it to his home, and laid it in his own tomb.

This is a challenging story for us to accept. The consequences do not seem fair. After all, the old prophet, who lied to him, tricked the man of God. Therefore, shouldn’t the lion go eat the old prophet who lied, not the man of God who was deceived? As a prophet the young man was held to a high standard. He knew that nothing was to be accepted that contradicted God’s prior decrees. The young prophet got himself killed because he listened to the old prophet and the young man put what “he thought was true” ahead of God’s truth.

Of course, I’m not at all suggesting that we will be lion food if we disobey God, but we know there will be consequences.  And in this climate folks, we certainly don’t want to be deceived by “thoughts” ahead of the truth of God’s word. That could be dangerous!

1) (Galatians 1:6–9 ESV) “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 

Father when we have received a command from You (through the word or from You directly), strengthen us to obey You, and not be turned aside by the words or ideas of others. Father, increase our gift of discernment to be able to recognize and value your truth and your words.

2), “I will not break My covenant, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” (Psalm 89:34) May we learn and believe the truth of God’s word that we not be tempted or swayed by the enemy.

3) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

“Father, we pray that we will love others the way You love them. We pray that our love would be perfected in unity so that the world might know You.” (John 17) We pray that we will be steadfast and keep all your commandments.

4) Lord strengthen us to reject the word of false prophets, or of others who speak soothing words, but not God’s word. 

5) Lord, anoint us to influence others for You and your kingdom. May we leave a legacy of Godly influence that extends through the generations. 

6) Lord, help us to experience the words of Ephesians 2:10: “You are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” 

Think about that. As we follow Jesus unreservedly, He makes our entire life a masterpiece, a work of art, a symphony, abundant with joy, authentic success, and a constant transformation “from glory to glory into God’s likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18).