Our Influence

Acts 7:58-60
and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

 We know from personal experience that first impressions are usually lasting impressions. Yes we all have friends and others that our first impressions changed, in some cases they became more favorable, but in some they were less favorable. In general though, first impressions are lasting, and many times they are permanent. I cannot help but think about the first impressions people have of us, as the church that Jesus Christ died to purchase (Acts 20:28). The word of God is clear that we should be careful in our choosing of who we associate with because it can compromise our moral convictions (1 Cor. 15:33), we should be a “peculiar” people (Titus 2:14), in other words we should stand out in the crowd.

But influence is something that can rarely be gotten back. It only takes a few minutes for our influence to slip, but it takes an enormous amount of time for us to get it back (from a Christian perspective) should we let it slip. Be mindful that the world is watching us. Peter describes it as those outside of Christ “observing” our good works (1 Pet 2:12), literally meaning to “watch with outstretched necks”. The concept is also clear that because of our good works these individuals should “glorify God in the day of visitation”. Others should want to become what we are by our actions.

So the question is what are they observing? People around us will know us by our love for one another (John 13:34-35). People around us will know our love for God by how we keep His commandments (John 14:15. People around us will know us by the importance we place on spiritual things (Matt 6:33). And people will know us by the works we do (Matt 5:16). Yes, I agree, the standards are quite high, but we set high standards for ourselves in everything else don’t we? I can’t imagine how much different things may have been if Steven compromised his influence in front of Saul of Taursus. Remember that people REALLY ARE watching, and our influence is important. What a great God we serve!

Ande Z