The power of influence. Old Testament readings show how easily entire nations are transformed by customs and beliefs of neighbors and leaders.
- Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done. 2 Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel. 2 Chronicles 28:1-2, NLT
- 22 Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, for he said, “Since these gods helped the kings of Aram, they will help me, too, if I sacrifice to them.” But instead, they led to his ruin and the ruin of all Judah. 2 Chronicles 28:22-23, NLT.
Who am I following? What are the things I value? When my time is limited, am I investing it wisely? In times of trouble, where do I turn for advice, direction, perspective, or encouragement?
She was like a sister, but years and circumstances separated us. When I saw her again, the familiarity between us was unfamiliar. In catching up, I listened as she discussed pursuits and influences. I found myself mourning the loss of people and passions she had abandoned. I reflected long on the powerful influences that were leading her.
The power of influence. It can start subtly. When I get to the end of whichever path I travel, is that really where I want to be? Do these examples and influences further me closer to the the things I value, or are they steps in a different direction, leading me away? How are they shaping my heart? Music, literature, programming, casual relationships–subtle shaping. The closer the tie grows or the stronger the focus, the more powerful its strength.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you, to be aware of the influences around me and to discern the wisdom and cost of pursuing relationships and courses.