Many moons ago, I was pulled over for driving under the influence. It was the wee hours of the morning, I was returning from an early morning shift, my car was weaving the lanes on 75, the W, and a police car was quick to flag me down (kudos on their prompt response). After quickly pulling off the W and coming to full and complete stop, I explained to the man in blue I was coming off several straight shifts from two jobs, headed home, and had not had any alcohol or medication. I completed my once and only breathalyzer and walked in a straight line – he came to believe me. He took pity, directed me to the closest 7-11 (Mockingbird near SMU – a tennis complex is there now, but there is a Starbucks across the street) – of which he ordered me to go there, do not pass go, and have some coffee. I did as instructed.
DUI – Driving Under the Influence. Influence is a remarkable thing – to have an effect or impact on someone’s character and/or actions. This week, Time Magazine listed their top 100 people of influence in the world (see here for complete list). It includes a wide variety of personas from the political and cultural spectrum. From Chloe Kim to Rosanne Barr, from Prince Harry to Kim Jung Un, from Christine Waters to Jeff Bezos, and so forth – the list is impressive. Yes, they are influential. I even see how some parts of my life has been influenced by their leadership, their efforts, or their practice of the arts. But influence is also something we allow, something we give permission to impact our character. Jesus said that bad company corrupts good character. We are who we hang around with with. Or more direct – garbage in/garbage out.
I look at whom I allow to influence me – teachings of Craig Groeschel, JD Greear, Bob Goff, as well as local pastors like Josh Allen (ParkwayHiils), Robert Morris (GateWay), and Pete Brisco (Bent Tree). But unfortunately, I also let worldly influences slip in as well – TV/Media that doesn’t honor the Lord, comedy that might be questionable, or music that promotes a morally questionable lifestyle. Maybe I should follow the “mother test’ – if you feel uncomfortable watching or listening to something while your mother was in the room, then maybe you shouldn’t be watching/listening.
This is not about becoming Amish – hiding yourself from the world, for we are to be in the world but not of the world. It is about influence – what are letting influence you?
The Bible says to ‘guard your heart’. The children’s song of ‘be careful little eyes what you see’ is also very appropriate. So I challenge you this week, look at what you let influence your life – evaluate what you let in to your mind – and ponder the things you watch/listen to. Then, take that list and evaluate whether they build you up or break you down. Do they strengthen your walk your with the Lord or do they distract you from that relationship?
If we are to be under the influence, may it be that we are filled with the Spirit. (See Eph. 5.18-21). We will look a bit more at that tomorrow. Till then, look at what you allow to influence your life!
COMING SOON – Starting in May – on the 10th of each month, I will do Top 10 lists. Who are the Top 10 influences, the Top 10 books, the Top 10 moments, etc. Different list every month. Think about your list. First month – Top 10 people of influences in your life up to this point.