Who’s Influencing Whom?

Evil people try to drag me into sin,
but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
Psalm 119:61

After a few weeks of hanging around with Michael, I began to wonder who was influencing whom.

My father had just returned to the denomination of his upbringing and had been called as interim pastor at the church he had attended as a young boy. Michael was the first person to offer his friendship to me. His father was the chairman of the deacon board. Who better to hang around with?

I soon discovered Michael wasn’t involved in anything that would enhance my spiritual journey, but I chose to follow his lead anyway. Before long, I was drinking, cutting school, and experimenting with drugs like Michael, but eventually our paths separated. I knew he wasn’t a good influence, but instead of influencing him, I let him influence me.

Evil people will always drag me down if I let them. They make suggestions like these: There’s nothing wrong with having someone on the side besides your wife. Spend the money you make. You earned it, and your family won’t miss it. Religion is for those who can’t handle life. You don’t have to take what your boss is dishing out. Tell him to take that job and shove it. Why work? Live off the government—everyone else is. These pills will help you get through the day. They won’t harm you. On and on the evil messages come.

The psalmist’s answer to evil people’s attempts to drag him down was to be firmly rooted in God’s instructions. Not a bad idea. God’s Word reveals His expectations and guidelines. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I can determine if and where I’m falling short. When I determine what’s keeping me from living up to God’s commands and leading me astray, I should investigate the source of my failures. In high school, it was a friend—a loyal peer, but a bad influence.

Once I’ve discovered the source of my problem, I must do something about it. For me, it was saying goodbye to a friendship. If you’re being influenced by ungodly offers, what steps can you take to be the influencer?

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Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

How are you dealing with others’ influence?


by Martin Wiles

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Martin Wiles is a minister, author, English teacher, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.