I just finished reading a letter from a missionary in Australia updating churches on the progress they have had there. As I read the letter I thought, “Wow! This missionary is having a great influence upon the people where he is serving the Lord.” I thought how great it would be to have a dozen men like him in every Bible believing church in America!
Any individual can walk around their local town or city and watch people or sit in their own living room and watch commercials on TV or even the news and do you know what you would learn? A large portion of Americans have become spoiled and have forgotten why and how America was formed. Don’t get me wrong, I love America and served in the military, however most have not and many are not aware of what it really takes to maintain America’s freedom, both domestically and on foreign soil. Any American would do well to visit a third world country for about a month, maybe even a week and really get a taste for what matters in life.
Adding to this, a large portion of Christians in America have also become spoiled for the same reasons. The 1st century church was persecuted beyond belief for their faith in Jesus Christ. They stood firm upon the convictions they professed, no matter who did or did not agree with them. They stood firmly upon the principles they learned from those first Christians. Many became martyrs for their faith and they weren’t suicide bombers either! They stood for Jesus Christ and what He represented, which was: forgiveness, mercy, grace and yes REPENTANCE of sin. When Jesus began to preach, He preached repentance and so did those men who followed Him. Repentance is not an Old Testament philosophy, nor is it only for Israel. The Bible declares that all men should come to repentance.
Now, to the purpose of this article. Our question in the title is, “Do you influence or infect?” Some defining, I believe is in order:
Influence – To move by moral power; to act on and affect, as the mind or will, in persuading or dissuading; to induce. To lead or direct.
Infect – To communicate bad qualities to; to corrupt; to taint by the communication of any thing noxious or pernicious.
There are those who influence others and there are those who infect others. Gossip and backbiting, for example are tools used to infect people. Truth and honor would be tools used to influence others. In our nation’s history, as well as the church’s history, we may read of those who have done both. Even now, in 2016, there is a socialist running for the President of the United States of America and he’s infecting the minds of young people. In the summer of 64, Rome burned for 6 days. The people of Rome accused Nero for doing so, but he was successful in infecting the Roman citizens against the Christians. Disgruntled church members can infect other members as well. Even after some members leave a church they spread gossip and cause other members to question the leadership or decisions of the church.
This article is not for the purpose of telling someone how to influence, however it is to serve as a time of self examination. The greatest example of influence would be, of course, Jesus Christ. He influenced the 12 men and few women he led very effectively. So effectively, they were willing to die for Him, as He did so for them. The Pharisees & Sadduccees attempted at every turn to infect people against Jesus and His disciples. Peter and Andrew were so influenced by Christ, they both were crucified for preaching Christ. Paul was so influenced that he was willing to be beheaded for Christ.
May we ask of you, how much has Christ influenced you? If you are a believer what do you do for the glory of Christ? Have you been infected by those who are afraid to stand for Him? Many say, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that for fear of being called a fanatic or an odd ball.” So many are afraid to be humiliated for the cause of Christ that they are failing Him miserably. Many have determined some ministries as a waste of money and resources, and the truth is they are afraid to get involved for fear of how it would make them or their church look. Jails should have to turn Christians away, street corners should be full of Christians, news stands should be littered with second coming material, newspapers should be printed proclaiming the return of Christ, gospel tracts should be handed out by EVERY believer and etc. Why are these things NOT happening? Mainly due to people being infected by nonsense. Pastors ought to influence their church members to serve God without hesitation. Sadly, some are doing the infecting from the pulpit.
In conclusion. If you have been born again and Christ has influenced your life, are you influencing others around you? Sadly, we must ask also, have you been infected by someone and now are infecting others? If so, I have great news. Jesus Christ has the remedy for for the infection and can heal you. Not every Christian is as that one that has infected you. There are others that live what they profess and act upon the principles taught by Christ, although imperfect. We challenge you, stop being infected and infecting and let someone influence you so that you can do what Christ did and influence someone else for the glory of God.
Until He comes again…