Under the Influence

Most often, when we hear the phrase “under the influence,” we think of individuals whose behavior has been influenced by alcohol or drugs.  We also tend to think of individuals under the influence of such substances while behind an automobile’s wheel.  We have read plenty of tragic stories where automobile accidents and death have resulted from driving under the influence.  Of course, driving under the influence can be seen in a driver whose driving is erratic.  What influences you will affect your behavior.

Every person lives their lives under the influence of something or someone.  Our living does not happen in a vacuum.  Our words and deeds are influenced by something, whether we recognize it or not.  The question we must ask ourselves is, what am I under the influence of?  Lots of things can influence us.  Our desire for wealth, or fame, or power, or pleasure, or self-aggrandizement can lead us to live our lives in a certain way.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, tried to simplify the influence equation.  In Colossians 3:17, we read, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Paul contends that as Christians, our words and our actions should be under the influence of the name of the Lord Jesus.  In the Bible, a person’s name was more than a legal identification; but it represented the person’s character.  It is why Moses asked for God’s name before he went to Pharaoh to seek the Hebrew people’s freedom from slavery.  When we are under the influence of the name of the Lord Jesus, then our words and deeds will mirror the character of Jesus.

In all honesty, there are times in which I fail to live under the influence of Jesus.  My words and deeds betray my relationship with him.  At times, people may look at our lives and wonder about our relationship with Jesus.  If Jesus is our Lord, then wouldn’t our lives look different?  Unfortunately, as followers of Jesus, we do not always do a good job following him with our words and actions.  We can call him Lord but appear to be under the influence of something else.

We might all benefit from examining our daily living as Christians.  Before we speak or act, we should consider what these words and actions look like in the light of Christ.  It would seem that Christ’s light is a light of love.  Jesus would tell us, “they will know you are my followers by your love.”  Are my words loving?  Are my actions loving?  How we answer these questions will reveal the influence we are under.

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Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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