We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth.
Everybody influences. No matter who they are, everyone has influence on those around them. If they are the golden example of good character and right living, they will influence those around them for the good. If they are the epitome of wickedness and vile thinking, no doubt, those who are their closest associates will in time be influenced by their wayward life.
Influence happens, and at times, influence can be a tricky thing. Many times, we think that we are influencing the people with which we associate, and we fail to realize that, in fact, they are also influencing us. Paul warns of the negative power of influence in 1 Corinthians 15 when he said, “Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners.” Who you associate with can negatively influence who you become.
Reciprocally, if influence can be a negative thing, it can also be a positive thing. As powerful as negative influence is, positive influence can encourage and transform those with which it comes in contact. In 3 John 8, John mentions the influence of his own students. Their godly living and right thinking had caused a change in those around them. The godliness was infectious. Their indiscriminate loving had been transmitted to the other believers. Their thirst and hunger for truth had been epidemically spread across the community of faith. They had influence.
Furthermore, their influence reached its highest level when their own teacher was influenced by their love of God. John says, “we should be fellow-helpers of truth.” In essence, let’s join them in doing what God desires. Let us be like them.
The student had become the teacher. The seasoned instructor looked to the lesson of the pupil and influence did its great work. You can be the same way. Your life will be marked by the ones you influence and the ones who influence you. Why not be deliberate in your influence? Why not intentionally love well and gather to yourself the liberating truth of God so that you can be the catalyst for change in the hearts and lives of others?
Food For Thought: Write three names of people who you regularly influence. Write three names of people who regularly influence you.