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Online Articles

Using Our Influence for Good

A pressing need exists in the body of Christ today that the members of the body have a good influence on each other and on the world. Far too often, we allow the world to influence us rather than resisting those appeals and pressures. We need to set our course in the way of righteousness and thus exert an influence on the world. We must be swayed by good influences rather than evil ones (I Thes.5:15; Heb.13:7; II Thes.3:7-9). How can we be a good influence? What must we do?

First we must observe God’s law of love and consideration of others (Matt. 7:12; Rom.13:9,10). That means that we will be treating others as we would like to be treated. It means that we do nothing to harm others, but that we do good, even in the face of evil. The question is: are we doing this and doing it well?

Second, we must give no occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully. David’s sin with Bathsheba gave great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (II Sam.12:7-14). Idlers, busybodies, and others who are careless of their ways give occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully (I Timothy 5:13,14). It is so easy for us to get out of place that we must be very careful. We must do the right thing in the right way so that our good may not be evil spoken of (Rom.14:16). Paul was very careful in the handling of the relief of the saints to avoid any occasion for people to find fault (II Cor.8:16-24).

Third, a good influence is a positive influence in its effect. We are to be the salt of the earth (Matt.5:13). We are to be lights, having an enlightening influence (Matt.5:14-26). We are to show to others the wisdom of God in our lives (Co1.4:5). If we do this, the fruit of our conduct will be in stark contrast to the fruit that comes from ignoring and neglecting God’s wisdom — in speech, behavior, in our honesty and fairness, in our families, in our dress, and in all other particulars of our lives. We will also be an example to the believers and thus an encouragement to them (I Tim.4:12). Our influence will be toward good works in all things (Titus 2:7,8).

Fourth, if we would be a good influence, we must exercise care and caution that no occasion of stumbling be seen in our behavior. We don’t want our lives of service to be blamed (II Cor.6:3); hence, we must be careful even in things that are right in themselves (I Cor.8:9; 10:32,33; Matt.18:6,7). We must be mindful of those whose understanding is weak, and be careful not to trample upon their consciences. We must seek always the good of all.

Is our manner of life such in all things that our influence is for good-making better, encouraging and strengthening others? Can it be said of us: To know him is to love him and to appreciate his good manner of life? Or does knowing us bring embarrassment, disappointment, and shame? Let us be an influence for good.