Choose Well Your Influencers

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Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Ephesians 5:1

As I sat reading this morning, the thought occurred to me, ‘You become who you hang around with.’ This was something I used to tell the girls when they were young. Any time they would come home with bad habits, I would question who they were hanging around with. It’s not that their friends were bad, well some of them…., it was perhaps more that they weren’t raised with the same values as we had.

I’m extremely watchful as to who influences me on a regular basis. I have few close friends, but those I have love the Lord like I do and love to talk about His Word. We constantly share with one another and build each other up by using what we know and love the most-The Word of God.

If in talking with someone I constantly hear negative and discouraging news, I know they’ve been influenced by the world more than the Word. If after attempting to change the subject or shift the focus onto God and His promises they walk away, I’m not offended, I’m simply aware of God stepping in and guarding me from wrong influences.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, a family moved into an old house close by us. She was about my age and we began playing together each day. I’d never had any close friends because I was painfully shy and withdrawn due to constantly being made fun of for being chubby. She had a horrible habit of lying about everything and I quickly picked that up. When I was caught lying, my dad asked me, “Who have you been playing with?” When I answered, he immediately said, “You are not to play with her anymore!”

Why would he say that? Because he knew that bad influences corrupt good people and he didn’t want that for me. It took years for the ‘rod of correction’ to drive that lying spirit out of me. In fact it wasn’t until I surrendered my heart to the Lord at 15 and was filled with the Holy Spirit that I was free of lying. To this day there are times I do something stupid and am tempted to lie to get out of it, but the Spirit of God convinces me that is not the way.

So how do we imitate God? Lets read on to verse 2;  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

My dear friends, we cannot imitate who we do not know. We can’t hang around with the world, be friends with the world and walk in love. It’s impossible to be like Jesus if we don’t follow his example. You can’t talk like Him if you don’t fill yourself up with the Word. You can’t walk in His love if the love of the Father isn’t in you.

Do an inventory today of what you spend time doing, hearing and saying. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal where the weeds are and how to get rid of them. You don’t have to tell your friends, “My daddy told me I can’t hang around with you anymore because you’re a bad influence!” AWKWARD! No, the more you change from the inside out, the more the Love of God influence you, they will either be hungry to change too or they just won’t want to be around you anymore. It’s all good! God will bring new influences to you so you’ll grow be more like Him.

Oh Father, thanks for the reminder. Acts 17:28 tells me that it is through You that I live and function and have my identity; just as Your own poets have said, ‘Our lineage comes from Him.’  As I sit and soak in Your sweet presence today, infuse me with Your Spirit to a greater degree so that when I open my mouth to speak, others my be set ablaze with Your love. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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