Welcome to Week 2!!
So we already established that we are ALL influences, whether we like it or not! Now the big question is what’s it going to be? Positive or Negative?
So as I do, I began to ask myself some questions. Hard ones. Ones that will make you curl up and want to crawl under your blankets and make you not want come out because you realize just how short you have fallen short AND how much of a negative influence you really are.
This led to much growth in me. Today we are gonna explore some of those questions. There is no specific order !
Question#1- Who is the most important in my life?
Ok so, here is the toughest question of all. We are just gonna jump in!
Have you ever heard of JOY clubs? When I was a kid in our church , they tried out JOY Club.
JOY is an acronymn for the order in which you should place your priorities of life.
This very basic principle taught ALL those years aghast stuck with me, usually it shows up when I begin to wader from this principle as the Holy Spirit begins to nudge me to get back in line with this!
So we need to ask myself:
Is it al about me or about other people and most importantly about Jesus? In the world we live in today it’s all about what good for me (as an individual). We have blurred the lines of right and wrong. And what you end up with is a bunch of people who are all thinking they are being a positive influence but in reality they are putting themselves first. There is no scarce for God or for others. BUT their is selfishness.
Once upon a time children were taught to respect humanity. Life. but instead today violence is glorified. We spend our days focused on how we look. And if people don’t look in such a way or they pick something that they like and we automatically think it’s our job to save them…’You aren’t gonna wear that are you???” I don’t know about you but when someone does that to me it immediately makes me think/ feel a couple of different things.
- This person doesn’t really like me for me. They want me to look and behave just like them.
- It makes me self doubt.
- It makes me feel judged and unaccepted for something superficial or silly.
Now some would say that I should not let people have such power over me in reality, we all do this. we all have opinions and we feel free to share them at any point, because we have the right to.
We are free to our opinion. However we don’t need to just throw. them out at will. Pushing our opinions on people, making them feel as though they don’t measure up to our standards is an extremely negative influence and over time you will find that people just plain and simple don’t want to be around you any more.
Now there are times (in love and gentleness) that we need to comfort sin. but clothing, makeup, hairstyle, hair color, ad even personality or silly things we may like is not a reason to make your opinions known- if you are dong that- if you are putting your preferences over someone else you are ACTIVELY choosing to be a negative influence(It’s commonly called being a snob)., whether you like it or not. Choosing to be Friendly, kind, putting others first is an active choice to be a positive influence.
Question #2 What do I spend my time doing AND thinking about?
Now this one is tough too because this is not just the things you do in front of people but those things we do in the secret. the places we let our brains go, the feelings deep in our heart!
The principle of Garbage in, garbage out applies here. Most people will say or I just like______________because it has a fun beat, or it’s a funny TV show, or…..the list goes on and on. In reality what we are doing by choosing to put that stuff in, is we are desensitizing ourselves to sin. We have to be on guard. We are told many time throughout Scripture to guard our hearts This means we must actively pursue the choice to think on these things:
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 NIV
Memorize this passage POST these words anywhere you will see them. AND then when something pops up that is not what fits these descriptive words you have an ACTIVE CHOICE on what you allow to influence you.
Question #3 Can I be defined as a person who acts one way when I am one Place and another way when I am somewhere else.
Now I am not talking about roles. Because there are times when I have to be more strict because of my role that others. What I’m talking about is when we are with our friends do we compromise and then act like good Christian girls come Sunday morning (Or anytime we are at church)?
The funny thing about this one is that we tend to think that we are being super savvy. Like no one knows who we really are! That is util one of our friends or acquaintances who have seen our secret side says something to someone we know who has only seen the other side. The thing is they may not even realize you are different. That’s just who they know you to be. They aren’t being malicious, just honest.
God has a way of exposing those things because he knows what kind of damage we are capable of.
So are you known in one place as having a potty mouth, cussing up at storm? And then complaining when someone says something off color at church?
That’s Called Hypocrisy and is an active choice to being a negative influence. You will become known as two faced, fake and so on.
If you are choosing to be genuine in your morals and standards NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE WITH that is an active choice to be a positive influence. and again this has nothing to do with role change.
Whatever our roles are there are some things that we should exemplify no matter what.
- unconditional love
- stand for truth
Question #4 Are you building up or tearing down?
Remember that verse about the condition of your heart being revealed through your speech?
What is the purpose behind the words you speak?
Here’s a quick little verse study in what it means to build up
Ephesians 4:12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.2 Corinthians 10:8
For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,2 Corinthians 13:10
For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.
1 Corinthians 3:10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
Romans 14:19So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
1 Corinthians 14:12So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
1 Thessalonians 5:11Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Romans 15:2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
2 Corinthians 12:19All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.
Ephesians 4:29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
1 Corinthians 14:26What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.
Acts 20:32“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
1 Corinthians 8:1Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
1 Corinthians 14:4One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Corinthians 14:3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.
1 Corinthians 14:5Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.
Colossians 2:7having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
1 Corinthians 14:17For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified.
1 Corinthians 10:23All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
That is a ton of verses based on building each other up!! We all to often want to Fix people but in doing this we are really tearing them down. It’s not our job to fix. It’s his/. We need to speak truth in love and even may need to address sin.
Question #5 Are you quick to take offense?
Offense AKA angry! OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!
Yeah- and are willing to let people know it.
There’s the whole speech thing again. and the whole “focused on me” thing. Why do we get offended? Usually because something has been done to us or said to us. Then we let bitterness build. we obsess over it until it comes spilling out.
The Bible tells us to:
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19 NIV
This is SUPER hard. Especially when we feel attacked. Here are some tricks I have learned:
- Consider the other person. Was it an honest mistake? What were the circumstances?
- Ask questions. This is how it came across, Did you mean it like this? Try t be understanding in this . Don’t seek to be angry, seek to gain understanding.
- Do NOT take to the internet. Do not post anything, do not confront or ask questions in texts. Talk with the person face to face or on the phone so you can at least hear tones. Because when typing it is normal to read into tones that may not be accurate and then we are doubly angry because we have misunderstood something that was really not the case.
- PRAY and ask God to show you what is true.
- Rehearse Philippians 4:8 over and over again.
Question #6 Who are you spending your time with?
Because let’s be honest the people who we spend the most time with we start behaving like!!! Look at any school, team, kid’s ministry, kids who hang out, adults who we spend the most time with. it’s called peer pressure or PEER INFLUENCE!
A few years ago I hung out with a person who was super critical. And guess what…..without me even realizing I was slowly becoming that person. I was becoming a critical person. If things didn’t happen the way that person thought, they would let people know it or gossip about the person.
One day I looked around me and realized I felt pretty alone AND THEN I realized that person had been doing the same to me. This person has gossiped about me. As I began to separate myself I realized just who I had become, and it was not what I liked at all. And I knew God wasn’t pleased either. It’s not my job to be critical of people or circumstances. I’m called to love and build up .
All Wrapped Up
Entitlement- we become so wrapped up in ourselves and our opinions and our desires, and our pain, and our hurt, and what we know, and that becomes all that matters.
We bulldoze people, Butt in where we don’t belong- though we have convinced ourselves that we do have a right to be there.
We don’t have those rights. THOSE RIGHTS we gave over to Jesus when we gave our lives to him.
When we choose to give our rights over to him we are actively making the choice to be a positive influence.
Let’s Chat: So what’s is going to be, Positive or Negative? and which one of these questions was the most convicting?
For me there are two:
The first is the Slow to take offense. We so often get hurt and it’s easy to let it build up and let the pain begin to affect me. Taking this steps above have really helped me to grow in my walk with God because bitterness and anger are one of the biggest dividers of relationships.
And the second is who am I focused on? It becomes an almost mindless thing to slip into worry about myself. Protecting me. Taking care of me. Me Time, My space, My kids, My home….MY MY MY. When I start hearing myself say I, me or my a lot I know that my focus is way off!
Want to read the rest of the posts in the series? Check them out HERE