Let’s talk about influence. What influences you? What do you influence? What do you need to allow yourself to experience in order to be able to influence people around you? What is wise?
Living in a fallen world is hard. The people of God are supposed to be a holy people, living pure in a fallen world. But, we cannot be a people who run and hide in the mountains, ignoring the culture around us.
Sometimes, however, if we are not careful, we will get the mistaken impression that, if we place ourselves in a particular situation, our good intensions will rub off on others more than their negative actions will rub off on us. Have you not ever found yourself more impacted by the world around you then you impact the world?
Consider this odd little passage in Haggai 2 about what catches more easily:
Haggai 2:11-13 – 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12 ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’ ” The priests answered and said, “No.” 13 Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”
Notice what transfers by touch. If an unclean thing touches a holy vessel, the unclean thing is not made holy. However, if a clean person touches something unclean, they become unclean. Now, I’m quite glad that we are not living in a world of ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness any longer. I am glad that God, for example, has declared all foods to be clean. But, there is most certainly something for us to learn here from that clean and unclean language.
Sinfulness catches easier than holiness. Sickness catches where health does not. Lowering standards spread far easier than raising standards. Houses get dirty naturally and making them clean takes work.
As we live, Christians, let us remember that we have to work to not allow ourselves to slide backward. We have to take part in spiritual disciplines to protect ourselves from our natural tendencies to turn away from God. We have to be guarded so as not to adopt the values of a world opposed to the word of the Lord.
Now, I’m not recommending a monastic life. Nor am I suggesting a tightness or prudishness in yourself. But, you have to be wise enough to grasp that, if your life is surrounded by the uncleanness of worldly thought, your life will be impacted. If you are passively in the world, you will be influenced far more than you influence.
So, may we guard our hearts and our lives. May we watch our minds. May we see to it that we do not allow our lives to be reshaped by the world around us. Instead, may we love the word of God. May we surround ourselves with the people of God. May we be influenced by the things of God. No, we will not hide from the world around us. But, we must be wise enough to love people and understand the world without allowing ourselves to be changed by it. This requires the Spirit of God and a heart that is aware that sin spreads easier than holiness.