“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…”
Influences are all around us, grabbing for our attention and attempting to shape our opinions, attitudes, and even our conduct. The methods used to reach us include advertisements, television shows, social media, the news, and the people we rub shoulders with every day.
When we recognize that the people around us play a role in what influences us, we must also realize that we are influencing others. We may not give much thought to the importance our influence plays in the lives of others, but each of us is a role model, and we make the choice to be a good one or a bad one.
Our influence impacts those in our own homes, neighbors, friends, co-workers, bosses, church families, and others. For those of us involved with children, they are our most impressionable audience, and they need us to be our best!
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, and said, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” The dedicated life of this young man was evident, and the women in Timothy’s life played an important role in shaping him.
This same scenario-the influences of family-happens in millions of families every day. Unfortunately, that isn’t always a positive thing. Some children follow the examples of domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, and other things learned from the home that will cause a lifetime of hardship if they continue on the same path. But for those who know the Lord and are bringing up children to honor and love Him by their own examples, abundant life and easier living are in sight for the little ones who are shaped by Christ.
Others in leadership positions also have the opportunity to touch the lives of the impressionable. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Pastors, Sunday School teachers, and other examples in the church have opportunities to show others how a life devoted to God is a blessed life. The Bible encourages others to look at leadership and mimic them in their godly lifestyles. That should lead us to examine ourselves and make sure our conduct and words are worthy of being imitated.
How are we measuring up? Are we Christians every day? Do we live honestly every day? How are we treating those around us? Do we walk with integrity? Would our own character be something we would want our own children to mimic?
It never hurts to take some time for a self-evaluation. Enough negative influences are sprinkled across the earth that we should examine ourselves to make sure we are not among them. Even when we are unaware, the world is counting on us to be the light that offers hope for the future. Setting a good, godly example for others to follow will cause our single light to ignite with others. Let’s not let them down!