According to Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary “influence” is “the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen [emphasis added, MR]”.
What influence are we for the world as Christians? That is what this author wishes to discuss briefly.
Jesus Christ commands us to be light, a light that shines before men, that they may see our good works (Matthew 5:14-16). He tells us why these good works must be carried out, to glorify our Father who is in heaven. The Christian must do good, not for the simple purpose of being seen by others, so they think “Oh, he/she is such a good person,” but because it is the right thing to do, hence our Lord taught us to “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matthew 6:3). As much as this world tries to show otherwise, God’s Word is clear, and there is no coexistence between light and darkness:
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth”1 John 1:5-6.
Truth is the Word of God (John 17:17). The Bible is how God teaches and guides us about how we should act.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the brothers in Colosse, summarizes this thought,
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him”Colossians 3:17.
Before this passage, the apostle says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly …” (Colossians 3:16). In order to know what God expects me to do, whether in word or deed, I need to study His word, only then can I know that it involves the “all” that is authorized by (“in the name of”) our Lord Jesus. Only then can I understand that form of gratitude that I owe to my Creator.
But, knowledge is not enough, many may know a lot, but if they do not practice it, then that knowledge is good for nothing. Who hires a lawyer to defend him who the laws of the country do not dwell in him richly? Who is looking for a doctor for a health issue whose knowledge about the human body does not dwell in him richly? So, who can believe in a person who claims to be a Christian but the word of God does not dwell in him richly, whether in knowledge nor deeds? Let us not be fooled, many atheists (and even Satan) know more Bible than many Christians.
The term «influencer» is very popular nowadays. It is even regarded as a profession. It is the one that has a large list of followers on social networks. It is the one who’s published content is seen by thousands. They are considered people with knowledge, prestige, and presence, as they influence the behavior of many.
Beloved brethren and friends, let us be influencers for Christ. Let us devote ourselves to leaving that mark on the world. Let us be the ones who, when people see us, they see Christ. That’s the purpose of the name we carry, “Christians,” which simply means «followers of Jesus.» The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit expresses it in a very simple way to read and understand:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me [emphasis added, MR]”Galatians 2:20.
Let us use the means we have to proclaim the truth of the gospel. Let us live for Christ and not for us. Christ commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). Let us talk about Christ to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances. In the digital world in which we live, let us share biblical passages, devotionals, exhortations, sermons, and other contents based on sound doctrine through our social networks. If we have time to share a picture of what we are going to eat, or of a cute kitten, or a joke, we also have time to share the message of salvation. An old Spanish saying goes, “Light of the street, the darkness of the house.” The Christian must be light no matter where he or she is, light of the street, light of the house, light in worship services, light in his social life.
Let us exert a good influence, beloved brethren and friends. Rather than having the power to change or affect someone for our benefit, let us use that power to give the world the opportunity to change their worldly ways into godly ways. In the words of our Savior, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Let our light shine before men, let them see the good works we do for our Lord, and thus, together, glorify our Father in heaven.
God bless you richly today and always.