{Thowback} Influential People

"The Power of Your Influence"
all in relation to our current study of the Sermon on the Mount

Think about how other people influence you, or how you may influence others.  In our world there are many types of influences ranging from genetic, proximity, and how we were taught, but mostly


"Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble." 
-Proverbs 13:20

--or even more convicting--

"Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for 'bad company corrupts good character.'"
1 Corinthians 15:33

How do you express yourself?  How do others think of you?  What does your language and/or words reveal about your character?  Who are those people in your life that you strive to be more like; what kind of worldly influence to they have?  Our pastor especially cited Facebook and/or Twitter.   Rhetorical question: what does your FB or Twitter say about you?  I thought long and hard about this one, battling between conviction and feeling confident.  

Even more interestingly, how does your CHURCH express itself?  As Romans 12:2 says, we are not to conform to the world, but to Jesus.  So many churches now days are conforming to the ways of the world hoping to attain elevated membership doing outlandish things that playing secular worship songs, cursing, and telling crude jokes--BECAUSE THEY KNOW PEOPLE WOULD RATHER LAUGH at church THAN FEEL CONVICTED AND RECOGNIZE THEIR SIN.  Churches are beginning to accommodate the "norm" lifestyle.  I felt guilt as I thought of a church we once attended.  Christians are also influenced to sway politically and basing responses of worldly ways versus biblical.  But most importantly, Christians are beginning to ... 

Ignore the power of OUR influence amongst the world.

How does all this relate to our current study of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount? Simple...through two verse: 

"You are the salt of the earth." Matthew 5:13
"You are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14

Jesus gave us a mission and that is to be the Salt and the Light of the world. 

You see, in biblical times, salt was a valued commodity.  It was used as not only a seasoning as we use it present day, but also an antiseptic to cleanse new babies.  Most importantly, however, it was used as a preservative to prevent meat from rotting.  Metaphorically speaking, Jesus calls upon us to be the salt of the earth acting as a preservative of His kingdom, acting as disciples to combat the moral and spiritual decay around us by conforming to Kingdom norms, not worldly ones.    

If there is no difference between us and the world, than we are nothing more than tasteless beings, lacking in any salt.  

So how can we be salt? 

John 17. 

1) BE in the world. 
Come out of the salt shaker.  Share our word.  Spread to nonbelievers.  Befriend nonbelievers.  Remember out mission as disciples.  Influence others. 
"Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth."
John 17:17

2) BE who we are in CHRIST.  
Don't try to blend in with the world:  be a Christian wherever you are. Be willing to be persecuted for being the salt.  Live out the Beatitudes day by day.  Live in obedience to Christ.  Do not affirm or enjoy those thing that oppose Christ (so hard, but it is what sets us apart.  Big work in progress for me).  Don't lose your distinct character to be like those around you.  Be You.  
"Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit." 
John 15:5

As our pastor closed, I thought hard about how I influence others.  I thought about those people who influence me positively and how I can be more Christlike as they are.  I thought about those people who influence me negatively and how easy it is to unintentionally conform to their ways to fit in.   I thought about my blog, my Facebook, and my interactions with others.  

But more than anything, I thought about how I can be the salt of the earth.  How can I positively influence others?  
My hunger is back.

Oh, and I think HE should be 2012's Most Influential Person of the Year.  
Yah, I know we are only nine days into January. 

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