“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” — Proverbs 3:5, NIV
As human beings, we are influenced by different things in our lives. Even if we do not consciously realize it, we take in information from those around us and things we see. After some time, the information we are analyzing around us can morph our actions, words and way of thinking.
This is not necessarily a negative thing. In fact, at times, it can be extremely helpful. For example, if we are trying to learn a new language, spending time with others who are also learning or those who are fluent speakers may improve our understanding and speaking of the language. Or perhaps, we listen to positive upbeat music to help us get excited and pumped up for our day.
However, it can become dangerous when we give the wrong things influence over our lives or even give the good things too much influence. God and His word should have the biggest influence in our hearts and lives.
The Power of Influence in Our Lives
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” — John 14:6, NIV
We have a choice of what we let influence our lives. The people we let in, the content we watch, things we listen to and places we spend our time can all shift our perspectives and outlooks.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” We can try our best to keep influence that we know will distract us from our goal and faith far from our minds and our hearts.
At times it may be difficult or even unavoidable if we are put into situations that we cannot control. However, there are a few things we can control, for the most part, that can influence us for good or bad.
Who We Hang Out With
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” — Proverbs 13:20, NIV
The people we hang out around have great influence on us. In fact, it has been shown that we mirror the actions and behaviors of people we spend time with.1 Proverbs describes this by saying, “walk with the wise and become wise.”
If we spend time around people who have Godly habits and positive attitudes, we can be pushed by this influence to grow. However, if we fill our time with people who exhibit qualities that we do not want to hold, we are at risk of picking up on those qualities.
This is one reason why having a strong community is important. Having others who are willing to use their influence in our lives to help us grow is a treasure we can cherish.
What We Watch and Listen To
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” — Philippians 4:8, NIV
What we watch and listen to also has power over our lives. In today’s world, social media and other forms of entertainment, such as movies and music, are everywhere.
Similar to the people we spend time with, some of this can help us and some of it can hurt us. For example, some movies may be light-hearted and make us laugh and some videos might teach us new information. However, other videos and media might influence us to feel angry or frustrated.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about things that are true and good. We may have to analyze if the types of media we are consuming are influencing us toward God or are taking us further from Him.
How We Spend Our Time
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” — Matthew 16:26, NIV
How we spend our time shows what we let hold the power in our lives. For example, we may have a hobby that we pour our time into. Maybe, it’s reading or dancing or fixing things. However, there could be other ways we spend our time too, like working overtime, going to church, visiting friends and family members, etc.
How we spend our time, which is a very valuable asset, shows what we let hold power over time in our lives. However, no hobby or amount of money is worth our heart. Matthew 16 poses a question asking what the world is worth if we give up our soul.
Seek First His Kingdom
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” — Matthew 6:33, NIV
Our first and greatest influence should always be our Heavenly Father and His word. Not other people, media or places, but righteousness and His kingdom. We can honor God by choosing to surround ourselves with things that will push us to grow closer to Him.
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1Retrieved from Riskology, Social Proximity Effect: Your Friends’ Habits Will Become Your Habits in June 2022.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.