Influence: “A power affecting a person, thing or course of events.” Everyone is influenced by what he surrounds himself with. That which parents surround their children with influences them. We are influenced by what we read, by the people we associate with, by the media we give attention to, and by any other power we allow in our life.
There are two major powers in the world — God and Satan. The one power is good and the other is evil. The one carries truth and the other lies. God presents His truth in the Bible that gives us a record of His dealings with humanity. In the Bible we have the unfolding of a comprehensive plan of how God would save us from the influence of the devil, and the evil that has been planted in our lives. All through history, people could choose against the prevailing influences of evil to walk with God and have His blessing. But ultimately, God sent Jesus through a miraculous birth. He lived a sinless life and yet died a most cruel death. Then He arose from the dead and became King of kings and Lord of lords. He could do this because though He was man, He was the Son of God.
He offers to those who believe on Him the deliverance from evil. When people believe the Gospel as it is given in the Bible, they experience a powerful change that the Bible calls a New Birth. Faith in the Gospel causes one to open his heart to the Holy Spirit. That Spirit brings forth fruit that is very different from what man naturally produces. These believers become a part of Christ’s Kingdom that will never be destroyed.
The powers of darkness are numerous and seem to be more powerful than the power of God, but that is not true. Satan cannot make anyone good! He destroys life. He destroys morality. He causes wars. He is the one that infiltrates the media with all sorts of evil — pornography, adultery, fornication, covetousness, hatred, murder, pride, and arrogant behavior. These evil influences enslave many people, but they never make people free. There is a terrible bondage that goes along with sin that is deadly. The end of sinful living is eternal damnation.
But God has provided a way for us to be delivered from sinful living. Jesus died to save us from our sins. When we believe the Gospel, we believe that Jesus gave His life and shed His Blood on Calvary to atone for the sins of the whole world. But only those who believe this and repent of their sins will be delivered from the bondage of sin. Deliverance is the proof of God’s great power. Deliverance is the change that we experience when the Holy Spirit moves into our heart and Satan must leave with his evil powers. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) God is still a miracle-working God.
Each person decides who and what will control his life. Read Romans 6 for a commentary on this. Satan has many things dangling before our eyes to make us forget God. As one moves about in the world, he sees people in bondage to the instruments they carry in their hand. They are oblivious to what is going on around them. Many people only think about God when they are faced with a calamity. Christians think about God continually. They see Him at work in the created world about them and see Him at work in the hearts of other Christians and feel His power in their own hearts. Christians know that their God is in control of the earth and are not overly concerned about climate change because God is continually changing the climate. It is so restful to trust God to bring an end to evil as He will in His own time.
Those who do not believe in God have many things to worry about. The threat of maniacs with guns, the threat of identity thefts, the threat of violence and the moral bankruptcy all converge to make life scary. The Christian knows that society as we know it may soon end. But Jesus told us to not be surprised if the world hates us. It hated Jesus and they will hate us also.
Our trust is in the God of heaven to carry us through to glory regardless of what comes. We continue to preach the Gospel of love and peace to any who are willing to believe. We also teach what the Bible tells about the judgment of the wicked. The question for us all is this: Whose influence is controlling you — God with His truth? Or Satan with His lies?
Rod & Staff Publishers
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Withee, WI 54498