WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 24, 2021
TOPIC: EXERCISE GODLY INFLUENCE
BY T. O. BANSO
“For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 New King James Version).
Ecclesiastes 10:1a says dead flies make the oil of the perfumer give out an evil smell. This tells us the power of influence. You can be a godly influence or an evil influence on others. The choice is yours. When 1 Corinthians 15:33 says evil company corrupts good habits, it’s talking about influence. Also, Proverbs 27:17 says as iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. That’s influence.
What type of influence are you on others? Will people’s association with you make them wise or will it cause them harm? “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20 New Living Translation).
Luke 6:45 says a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Everybody has his or her spheres of influence from the family to friends, associates, colleagues, neighbours, employees, clients, and others. You can influence them by your examples, choices, actions, words, and so on. Be conscious of all this. Make up your mind to be a godly influence on others, not an evil influence.
The apostle Peter says, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12 New King James Version). Whether you know it or not, you may be influencing some people negatively or positively. Exercise a godly influence.
Both salt and light are agents of influence. The Bible compares the believer to them. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 New King James Version).
Eve was not a godly influence on Adam to help him obey God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Genesis 3:6 says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (New King James Version). 1 Timothy 2:14 tells us that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Although Satan did not deceive Adam but Eve, she influenced her husband negatively. Exercise a godly influence on your spouse.
Ananias influenced his wife, Sapphira, that they should lie to deceive the Holy Spirit about the amount they sold their property. They brought the money to the apostles with the impression that it was the full amount of the property they sold. Acts 5:2 says, “He brought part of the money to the apostles, but he claimed it was the full amount. His wife had agreed to this deception” (New Living Translation). Did you see that? The wife agreed to the deception. She shouldn’t have allowed her husband to influence her negatively. She later lied to Peter that the property was sold for the amount the husband had brought to the apostles not knowing that her husband had died for telling the same lie (verses 7-8).
They didn’t have to lie about the amount they sold the property. If unlike what others did, they couldn’t give the apostles the full amount of money, they should have given what they could give. The worst that would happen was that the apostles would reject it. But that was unlikely because the apostles knew the Lord loves a cheerful giver, not a grumbling giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). He does not love a deceitful giver as the couple turned out to be. Because of their deception, the husband and the wife died the same day for lying to the Holy Spirit.
Don’t be an ungodly influence on your spouse. “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that 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” (1 Kings 11:4 New King James Version). Solomon’s wives were an evil influence on him at old age.
That was not unexpected because he shouldn’t have married these foreign wives in the first instance. “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’” (1 Kings 11:1-2 New King James Version).
Exercise godly influence on your family, especially your children. Rebekah was not a godly influence on Jacob, her son, when she taught him how to lie and deceive his father to receive the father’s blessing meant for Esau, the firstborn. Despite his fear that his father might find out and curse him, his mother insisted he should deceive his father. “‘Let the curse fall on me, dear son,’ said Rebekah. ‘Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats’” (Genesis 27:13 New Living Translation). Compare this scripture with 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul says of Timothy, “I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois” (New Living Translation).
Cornelius was a man who had a godly influence on his family and friends. Before Peter arrived from Joppa with the emissaries Cornelius had sent to him, he made sure his relatives and close friends were already seated in his house awaiting Peter (Acts 10:24).
Because of the invitation that Cornelius extended to his relatives and close friends, they heard the message Peter preached, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and were baptized in water as a mark of their salvation (verses 44-48). Cornelius exercised godly influence on his family members and close friends.
God is interested in your salvation and the salvation of your household or family and everyone you have a relationship with. Are you exercising a godly influence on them so that they can be saved? Are you inviting them to church or Christian programmes where they can be saved? Are you praying for their salvation? Do you share the word of God with them?
The Bible says Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations, and walked with God (Genesis 6:9). While all other souls on earth then were destroyed by the flood, Noah’s family members were saved because they listened to him to enter into the ark.
Noah went into the ark with his sons, wife, and sons’ wives (Genesis 8:18). Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (New King James Version). They were eight in all (1 Peter 3:20).
God is interested in the salvation of your household. At Philippi, Lydia, a merchant of expensive purple cloth didn’t come to the Lord alone; she came together with her household. When the Lord opened her heart, she accepted what Paul was saying and was baptized, together with her household.
Acts 16:14-15 tells us her story: “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (New King James Version). Lydia must have influenced her household’s decision to give their lives to Jesus though the Bible does not specifically say so.
A similar thing happened to the Jailor of Philippi. When he asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household” (Acts 16:31 New Living Translation). Paul and Silas shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in his household. The jailor and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. They rejoiced because they all believed in God (verses 31-34).
Again, the Bible does not tell us the role of the jailor in the decision of his household to believe in Jesus Christ but being the leader of his household, he obviously had influence, and could unobtrusively influence them. It is true that salvation is a personal decision but our decision can be influenced or facilitated by others.
If the jailor had rejected the gospel message and spoken ill of Christianity, he would have influenced the rest of the household negatively without directly telling them the decision to make. They would not have believed and be baptized. To exercise influence positively or negatively, all he needed to do was to make a decision. As an influential person, the rest would largely be influenced by his decision.
Exercise a godly influence on your family. God said concerning Abraham, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 New King James Version). Just as Abraham did, be a godly influence on your household also.
Anywhere you are – home, school, workplace, church, association, political party, government, etc. – exercise godly influence. Function as God’s ambassador or representative (2 Corinthians 5:20). Galatians 5:9 says, “But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others — a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough!” (New Living Translation). Don’t be that one wrong person who infects others. Exercise godly influence as a child of God – don’t imbibe worldly values, obey the Word of God, abide in the teachings of Christ, uphold God’s standards. Exercise godly influence, knowing that one day you are going to give account to God (Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13).
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 exercise godly influence everywhere starting from my family. I shall not fail God in Jesus’ name. I shall not be the wrong person who infects others for Satan, but the person who influences them for God and for good. Father, I pray that as you expect of me, I shall be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
(For over 400 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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