The Pryor Times


May 29, 2014

The power of influence

PRYOR, OK — Abel, the son of Adam and Eve, was the first human being to ever die.  Therefore he has been dead longer than any other person has.  But Hebrews 11:4 says that although he is dead, he still speaks.  The writer is talking about his influence.  Although his life on earth ended, his influence did not end.  Abel still speaks through his influence.

We all influence others whether we realize it or not.  Our influence may be for good or for evil.  It will either help individuals to be better or worse.  And like Abel, our influence will keep working long after we are gone.  Therefore we should give careful attention to the kind of example we set before other people.

In I Timothy 4:12, Paul told Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  Each of us today should be careful to set the right kind of example in each of these same areas.

What kind of words would set a good example?  Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  Our words should encourage and build up others.  We should say things that make people feel and act better.  Jesus warns in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  We are accountable for every word we speak, including when we are angry and when we tell jokes “just around the family.”

Paul also told Timothy to be an example in his conduct.  Our behavior should be like that of Christ.  The question, “What would Jesus do?” remains a popular question today, and it is still a good question.  We should always try to follow in His steps, going only where He would go and doing only what He would do (John 12:26).  The fact that our actions will be remembered long after we die makes this very important.

We should also demonstrate our love.  I John 3:18 says, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  Words become empty if love is not put into action.  We demonstrate our love by the actions it prompts.  Love is never selfish, but always causes one to look out for the needs of others.  Love causes us to esteem others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).  

 To be a good example in spirit means to have a good disposition.  In other words, our hearts must be right.  In the Bible, the heart often refers to the mind or intellect of man.  The heart determines what we say and do (Matthew 12:34).  Like David, we should ask God to create a clean heart in us (Psalm 51:10).

It is also important to set the right example in faith.  True faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17).  Ephesians 4:5 teaches that there is one faith, and Jude 3 tells us that the faith was delivered one time for all time.  Only the truth of God’s word will set us free from sin (John 8:32).  To be an example in faith means to obey whatever God’s word says.

Finally, Paul urged Timothy to be an example in purity.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  The Bible must be our standard for purity.  Just because some people think certain things are all right does not mean that God does.  Man often accepts things that God hates.  His ways and thoughts are higher than ours are.  God’s word should be our standard of right and wrong.

Will the influence you leave behind be a good one or a bad one?

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