Influence (Part 1)

In today’s world, it’s not a question of are you being influenced, but rather by whom are you  being influenced. We are bombarded by information every day, and that information has only one goal: to influence. With social media in our pockets and numerous media outlets to watch and listen to, being influenced is a part of life. After all, we now have something called “Influencers” on social media who make their living influencing their audience. With all of the influences we encounter on a daily, hourly, and even minute by minute basis, have you stopped and asked yourself who’s influencing you?

You don’t have to be in a room full of people to be influenced. You can turn on your phone and immediately start walking the path of being influenced. With social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and so many others, being influenced is only a click away. It’s easy to pick up your phone, tablet, what have you, and start flipping through your social media accounts. Everything from politics, celebrities, music, and even cat videos are influencing us. What kind of influencers are you allowing into your life? Whose voice are you listening to the most? 

You might say that you are someone who chooses not to be influenced by anything, but in reality, humans are bent on being influenced. It started at the dawn of time with Adam and Eve being influenced by the serpent in the garden. They allowed themselves to be persuaded by sweet words, but in the end, ended up losing almost everything. If we are not careful, our circle of influence could destroy all that is good in us and cause us to lose everything that really matters. 

It is critical that we become aware of the influences we allow into our lives. We have all heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” I heard this when I was a child, but never understood what it meant. It wasn’t until I was in college that I had a full grasp of its meaning. In short, we become who we allow in our lives. If you surround yourself with selfish, self centered, and manipulative people, then that is who you will become. I was watching a video podcast the other day, and the guest on the show said, “My father told me, ‘Show me your friends, and I will tell you what type of man you will be.’” The company we keep has a direct correlation with the type of person we become. This is why the Apostle Paul quoted the Greek poet Menender in his letter to the Corinthians, “Bad company corrupts good character.” 

I challenge you to disconnect from the world and determine who is influencing you. If you are allowing negative, selfish, and/or self centered ideologies to infiltrate your mind and shape your thinking, you need to turn off the noises that are influencing you. You need to seek positive influence. Find the voices that encourage you to become better. Find the voices that promote selflessness, integrity and humility. Find the voices that push you to keep going when it gets hard. Choose wisely what you allow to influence you. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “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.”

As always, stay humble and serve well!

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