Influence: (noun) the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. (From http://www.dictionary.com)
There are times in my life where God reveals to me that something in my life needs to be different in order for me to become more whole, restored, and blessed. He does this out of His goodness, not mine. Recently I have seen how others influence is affecting my thoughts and behavior. I have dealt with strong influencers before and learned some lessons the hard way, but it seems that the more subtle negative influence is the hardest to perceive correctly. As a good Father, God watches over our safety and protection. He will warn us when things are unbalanced or dangerous.
The most difficult “hook” to detect is one that is shrouded in truth. And some the most dangerous are words that contain responsibility that is not ours to bear. Most of the time, these words do not come from people who are out to get us, but come from people who want our help or involvement in what they are doing. Many are doing the Lord’s work and may recognize a gifting or anointing in you and can be drawn to it, seeing how it could help the work they are doing. Others may be very controlling people who get their affirmation out of leading those whose experience has gained them strength and maturity in their faith. A recent experience had me thinking of the story of Samson and Delilah in Judges 13-16.
Samson was dedicated to the Lord at birth by his parents and became a judge in Israel. His hair was to never be cut with a razor and it represented the Lord’s presence with him. Delilah persuaded from him the reason for his strength. Wearied with her questions, he told her his secret and in effect, broke his covenant with God. His strength left him and he was taken captive by the enemy.
When we allow others to draw from our strength outside of God’s will, ignoring His warnings given through the Holy Spirit, it will leave us weary and tired, burdened and ___________ (fill in the blank). The Lord will enable us to do His will for our life and like Psalm 84 says, we go “from strength to strength”. There’s a constant replenishing and refreshing of the Spirit when we are doing what the Lord Himself has called us to do. We will have the spiritual strength and anointing to complete the task that God assigns.
We need to understand how to see the gifting God has put in us and how He wants it to be used. Knowing your spiritual gift and assignment is important for carrying out your purpose. We do not want to be weakened by the enemy or by the souls of other people who think they know what we should be doing. We want to remain strong in God – staying so close to Him that we know how to recognize when a hook is shrouded in persuasion or flattery or partial truth.
If I realize that my strength is running low (like Samson) I need to back up and find out why. If I have taken on responsibility that is not mine, or accepted an assignment that someone else has placed upon me, I need to stop, get back on track with God, and speak truth about the situation – whether that means speaking it to myself, to another person, or the enemy. Remember it’s always OK to back up and speak up.
We are to be a positive influence in the world around us. It doesn’t matter what you do. You + God inside you = positive Kingdom influence. Learn to let it out, to be you, to listen to the Father, to let Him deal with your heart, and do what He gives you to do where you are. It will be a joy. And “the joy of the Lord is your strength”!