Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Under the Influence...

1 Kings 20-22 and 2 Chronicles 18 cover accounts that are quite disturbing in the lives of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. In fact, verses 25 and 26 of Chapter 21 reads:

25 No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. 26 His worst outrage was worshiping idols, just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.

The words, "under the influence of," are striking. What is "influence" anyway? One definition suggests that it is the power to affect a person or events. So...who influences me? You? Make no mistake, we are influenced. You may notice the influence of others in subtle ways, like when you pick up on a phrase that is frequently used by a person you admire, or you find yourself imitating the way someone dresses or cuts their hair. Being influenced is a part of being human. We observe, we decide, and then we embrace or reject the influence of those to whom we are exposed.

Ahab chose a wife of bad character and she influenced him very negatively. So horrible was her influence that God's Word indicates that Ahab gets the "most evil of all" designation--and having covered some pretty terrible accounts of previous Biblical scoundrels, that is quite a condemnation.

You will have many opportunities to make determinations about the company you keep, and you will be influenced by those people--for better or worse. Hopefully, you will also influence them (for better of course) but please, never underestimate the importance of prayerful, careful discernment when it comes to choosing your friends or mate.

And someday, when God recalls the deeds and days of your life, may it be said of you: few others so completely submitted their life to the Lord Jesus, and very few have used their own personal influence to help so many people realize their potential in Christ.

Father, we ask for discernment and wisdom as we encounter people who might influence us. And please help us be most profoundly influenced by your Word and Spirit. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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