As we know from our experiences in tasting salt that it is only as good as it is salty. Once it has lost its saltiness, then it is good for nothing! We also know that just a little bit of salt will add spice to many different foods. Is our life characteristic of the light, leaven, and salt? We may not have all the knowledge and wisdom that we would like to have, but there are a lot of little things that we can do to be the RIGHT influence for others to follow. Because it is the little things that others see in us that may make the difference in their eternal salvation.
The three different influences represented above could be good or bad. We know from reading 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 that we should not have a corrupting influence but rather one as Paul describes in Romans 14:21 when he says “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles”. To be able to truly do this as a Christian we must first have the attitude that we “DO CARE” about what kind of influence that others see in us and then to do all we can to keep our brothers and sisters from seeing something in us that would lead them to fall away from the truth. We have a responsibility to ensure that we do EVERYTHING according to the will of God!
We should never try to influence others by physical force (Philemon 14), or by bribery (Acts 8:20; 24:26). But rather by our words (Acts 11:14) and by the example that we lead (Titus 2:7-8; Romans 14:21). We can see from the scriptures that each individual Christian has the responsibility to have a good influence on others (Matthew 5:13-16).
Each Christian should want to influence others in a positive way ALL THE TIME. We need to influence the world (Matthew 5:16), the other brethren (Romans 14:21; 1 Timothy 4:12), our companions (1 Corinthians 7:16; 1 Peter 3:1) and of course our children. Our children see us every day and know what we are really like. If you want to know what your children think is the most important thing in your life just ask them - they’ll tell you. But hang on, it may surprise you also. That’s where your influence is showing, either in a good way or a bad way. And this is the type of influence that will be “A LASTING INFLUENCE”. We all need to ensure that our influence is a godly influence.