Gauging Our Influence Part 1

Posted by on Sep 30, 2021 in Articles | 0 comments

Newton’s third law states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we step on soft soil, the individual particles shift under our weight and mold themselves into the voids in our shoe tread leaving a footprint behind. No matter how cautiously we step, we will change the environment through which we pass. Our influence on those around us is no different. The words we speak, the actions we take, and the decisions we make all leave a lasting impression on our community, our brethren, and our children.

Influencing Our Community

A conversation was overheard in a nearby community several years ago in which a comment was made that was very negative toward “those church of Christ members”. It was said that they were hypocrites because they did not practice what they preached. After a short discussion it became apparent that judgement was being passed on the quality of the Lord’s church based on a single member frequenting a liquor store. It is said that a rotten apple spoils the whole bunch. When we are seen by the community in a spiritually unhealthy light, it spoils our individual reputations, weakens our effectiveness as teachers of God’s Word, and dims our “light of the world (Matthew 5:14)” as a congregation of the Lord’s people. All of us suffer the consequences to our reputation when one of us grows weak! 

Influencing Our Brethren

The Hebrew writer tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). The purpose is to strengthen us and provide safety in numbers. When one of our brethren falls, we are there to lift him up. Conversely, when we are not there to lift each other up, many may slip away. When we see emptiness throughout the assembly it is discouraging, even if we know those individuals are sick or otherwise afflicted. No one wants to feel alone. Some wonder why others are not there, others wonder why they bothered to come themselves if their brethren are not present. Preachers and teachers feel as if they have prepared their lessons in vain. All of these emotions are negative devices of Satan to infiltrate our ranks and weaken us, but we can easily defeat this attack by making attendance our priority. The Body of Christ is made up of many members working in harmony to function as a whole (Romans 12:4-5). If we lose our sight or hearing because those body parts failed to “show up”, we will have great difficulty coping and our productivity will suffer. The same is true with the assembly. The encouragement and function we gain by being together is critical to the effectiveness of the congregation. When one doesn’t participate, all feel the void.

Being continually aware of the influence we exert on those around us is a vital part of our spiritual lives. In “Part 2” we will discuss our influence on children and how we can guide them to become successful, spiritually mature adults.

By Matt Brown

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