WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 19, 2021
TOPIC: BE A GODLY INFLUENCE ON OTHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel” (1 Kings 21:25 The New Living Translation)
The question is not whether someone has influence or not; the question is if he has a godly influence or an ungodly influence, a positive influence or a negative influence. Everybody is an influencer but this could be godly or ungodly, negative or positive. Whereas some people have a godly influence on others, some have an ungodly influence. Ask yourself: Am I a godly influence on people or an ungodly influence?
Everybody has his sphere of influence. As a parent, pastor, teacher, employer, boss, coach, etc, you have an influence on those in your sphere of influence. The degree of influence may vary but everyone has influence. Therefore, we must be careful how we influence others.
You exercise influence by what you say and do, how you live your life, the counsel you give, and what you teach others. The advice you give and the examples you show also influence people. Your authenticity or hypocrisy affects others. You may not realize this immediately but all this affects people’s beliefs, attitudes, decisions, and actions negatively or positively. Therefore, be very careful. You are affecting someone’s life wrongly or rightly.
When Jesus was on earth, He spent so much time together with His disciples, teaching them. They learnt from what He taught them and by observing what He did. All this time, He was influencing them. Make the time that people spend with you as your children, church members, subordinates, apprentices, staff, etc. count. It is an opportunity for you to influence them. Make it a godly influence. They also have a responsibility to take advantage of such a time.
In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to teach them the need to serve one another. He said in verses 14-15, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (New King James Version). That was one of the lessons He taught them by example.
After about three and a half years, Jesus was done with His earthly ministry. He died, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. His disciples continued with His ministry. That was the time for outsiders to see the influence that Jesus had on them when He was with them teaching them and mentoring them.
In Acts 4, the Bible talks about one occasion that the influence Jesus had on His disciples was evident to the religious leaders. They questioned Peter and John by what power they were able to heal the lame man by the Beautiful Gate. Peter gave them an appropriate answer that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they crucified and whom God raised from the dead. His bold answer apparently hit them hard.
Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (New King James Version). Did you see that? That was Jesus’ influence on them – the influence or impact that turned people without any special training into bold preachers of the gospel. Peter and John gave a good account of themselves! They showed that they had not been with Jesus in vain.
The New Living Translation renders the verse thus: “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Peter and John were laymen; they were not instructed in the Jewish schools or trained by the doctors of the law. However, Jesus made such a godly influence on them that the members of the Sanhedrin were amazed when they saw their boldness. They had received power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, as Jesus had promised (Acts 1:8). That was why Peter and John and the other apostles did powerful ministry after Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven.
What are people learning from you? Is it how to be excellent, polite, and faithful, etc.? Is it how to tell lies, cheat, treat others well, and so on? People learn from your instructions, what you say, and what you do. But it’s not only when you talk that you influence people. Even your silence can influence people. However, it could be a positive or a negative influence.
Hear what Paul wrote to Titus, his partner and fellow worker, in the ministry: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:1-4 New King James Version).
Just as Titus should influence the older men and women by teaching sound doctrine, they would be able to influence the younger by the sound doctrine they had learnt. The older women were to influence the younger women to be good wives and mothers. Each person must be careful about the type of influence he/she exercised on others. But if Titus was a heretical teacher, his listeners would only be an ungodly influence on others, especially the younger ones.
Paul referred to the influence that the mother of Timothy had on him, which was also a product of the influence his grandmother had on his mother. “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:3-5 New King James Version).
Not everyone experienced what Timothy enjoyed though there is no mention of his father. Some mothers and fathers are the major reason their children’s lives are going in the wrong direction today. They were an ungodly influence on them. They learnt wrong things from them and, regrettably, they seem to be doing those wrong things better than their parents.
Rebekah taught Jacob to lie and deceive his father to receive the blessing his father, Isaac, had wanted to pronounce on his brother, Esau. She prevailed on Jacob to deceive his father even when he told his mother the consequences if his father should discover. After he fraudulently got the blessing, it created enmity between him and his brother. Rebekah told Jacob to
flee to her brother, Laban, in Haran because his brother planned to kill him (Genesis 27).
Jacob wouldn’t have suffered all he did serving his uncle, Laban, if he had not run away from home. If God had not had mercy on him, he would have returned home empty-handed. Rebekah could be described as an ungodly influence on Jacob.
Don’t be an ungodly influence on others; be a godly influence. Solomon’s foreign wives were an ungodly influence on him. God knew the danger of marrying foreign wives because of their foreign gods hence he forbade Israel from intermarrying with the foreign nations. But Solomon loved what God hated. He disobeyed God’s commands.
1 Kings 11:1-2 says, “But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites — from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, ‘ You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love” (New King James Version).
Solomon ended up having seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines. When he was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David (verse 4). In other words, these foreign wives were an ungodly influence of Solomon. He did evil in the sight of the LORD and did not fully follow the LORD, as his father, David, did. He built high places for his wives’ foreign gods (verses 5-7). Are you a godly influence or ungodly?
Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, the Phoenician Princess of Sidon, was a tyrant. She was such an ungodly influence on Ahab that the Bible says, “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26 New King James Version).
Did you take note of that statement: “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up”? Instead of stirred up, some Bible translations use other words such as influenced or incited. The New Living Translation says, “No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel” (1 Kings 21:25). The New American Standard Bible presents it thus: “There certainly was no one like Ahab who gave himself over to do evil in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife incited him.”
Jezebel incited, influenced, or instigated Ahab to do wickedness. That does not exonerate Ahab and many would consider him as a weak king. But what about Solomon? May you not marry a woman who will influence you, stir you up, urge you, incite you, or instigate you to do evil.
Be a godly influence on others. Don’t be like Jezebel. Don’t be like Solomon’s wives. Don’t even be like Jonadab, Amnon’s friend, who taught him how to rape his step-sister, Tamar. Absalom, Tamar’s brother from the same mother, killed Amnon, his elder brother, in revenge two years later. Be a godly influence.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be a godly influence on others, not an ungodly influence. Help me to make the best use of my interactions with people and influence them for God and for good. Let me not be the reason that anyone will go to hell or anyone’s life will be ruined. Help me to make an eternal impact on people’s lives that they will always thank You for the opportunity to meet me. Father, deliver everyone who is a victim of ungodly influences. O Lord, redeem their destinies.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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