Take a moment to ponder this: Who influences your marriage?
Most days, I’m not really considering who I let speak into my life; but I should.
What about you? Who speaks into your life the most? Some of your answers may be:
How does what they say affect you? Your life? Your marriage?
Maybe it’s not just people. Maybe you’re listening to the whispers of:
If your marriage isn’t what you dreamed it would be, consider this: Where are you drawing the line when it comes to your influencers?
Is there a negative outside source that may be having an impact on your relationship?
In this post, we’ll look at who SHOULD be influencing us, and how we can be an influence to others.
First, we have to look at who or what has THE MOST influence…
Is GOD your greatest influencer?
No one and no thing should have greater influence on our lives than the Most Holy God Almighty.
Well, the list of reasons why is endless, really, but for the sake of time, let’s look at one: He’s our Creator.
Because He’s our Creator, He knows us inside and out. (To find great comfort in being intimately known by your Creator, click HERE.)
Because He knows us inside and out, He knows exactly what we need; what’s best for us.
And because HE knows what we need and what’s best for us, why would we seek outside influencers? Why wouldn’t we seek HIM and His Way?
Any person- or thing- that does not align with the Lord and His ways (as defined in the Bible) should not be allowed to influence us.
Please understand: I do NOT mean we should only interact with fellow believers in Christ and followers of the Word. On the contrary, God calls us to love others and be a light for Him (John 15:12-13, Matthew 5:16).
But- to be blunt- a lot of this world is being influenced by anything and anyone BUT the Lord: fleshly desires, wickedness, our enemy, our own sin nature. So, let’s take a minute to look at who is in your life and how they might be positively or negatively influencing your marriage.
Who are Your People?
You know- the ones with whom you should surround yourself. Are they people who…
Know the good, the bad, and the ugly and still stick by you?
Speak Biblical truth into your life, in every season?
You call, text, seek for prayer and advice?
You turn to in a crisis?
You give your attention to week in and week out?
Our cherished “ride or die” people are like GOLD… IF THEY RELIABLY POINT US TO CHRIST.
If you do not have these kinds of friends/family in your life, ask the Lord to provide. He wants to give us relationships that glorify and point us toward HIM.
But, if we’re not paying attention, some influencers can lead us down sinful rabbit trails.
Are there people in your life you need to BE INFLUENCING rather than them INFLUENCING YOU?
The Lord lovingly tells us: Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God (3 John 1:11).
He says plainly:
DO NOT be influenced in any way by anything that will cause you to displease, dishonor, and disobey God.
Live for HIM. Live according to HIS ways. (Does this strike a chord with you? Read THIS to learn more about living according to God’s ways.)
Paul challenges his disciple, Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11, But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
When we do these things we are the light this world needs; we are a light for HIM- our Almighty God. That’s when WE become influencers to those in our own lives. God is ready to use you…are you ready to be a tool in His hands?
What kind of an influencer are you?
We are all influencers; for better or for worse.
Following God might not make you popular in the world’s eyes, but it sure does make you capable of being an influencer in others’ lives; and that is God’s goal.
God calls us to be influencers, and that starts in our home: with our marriage and our children. So, how are you influencing those around you?
With our words and actions, we either point others to Christ or lead them astray.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.”
What does that mean?
It means we have the greatest influence for Christ when we sacrifice our own desires for the benefit of others.
This is definitely counter-cultural. And so, in any influential position you hold, it is vital to ask the question: Are you seeking “followers” to worship you or GOD?
Galatians 1:10 says, For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
What does being an influencer look like as a spouse? As a parent?
Influencing Your spouse
We must as always seek to be an influencer that points our spouse to Christ.
We must show Christ’s steadfast love, faithfulness, and forgiveness… even when it is least deserved.
The following resources provide more information and help as you seek to be a godly influence on your spouse:
Also, it should be said: In marriage, a large area of influence is sex; the Bible encourages us as married people to: 1. have sex, and 2. avoid sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 7:4). In Biblically healthy marriages, sex should be mutual and frequent so that husband and wife aren’t tempted. The lusts of this world are everywhere; YOU are the greatest influence on how your spouse will deal with that!
Check out the following resources for help and encouragement in the realm of sexual intimacy:
Let’s Talk About Sex
Why Isn’t Sex With My Spouse Satisfying?
Porn to Purity (Part 1 and Part 2)
Influencing Your children
In Matthew 18:6, Jesus tells His disciples, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
If you’re a parent, do you feel the weight of this verse? I sure do. It makes me wonder:
In what ways am I representing (or misrepresenting) the Lord?
In what ways is my sin causing others (my kids) to stumble?
How many times have I disciplined our children out of anger? Um… more than I can count. Oy.
We are our children’s biggest influencers (especially in their younger years). How we handle relationships with others- modeling repentance, forgiveness, and love- is part of our witness to our children. They are watching and listening to us more than we realize! What are we teaching them through our actions?
We cannot abandon the Gospel while leading our homes. It sets the standard for how God commands us to interact with one another. It structures the home with forgiveness, steadfast love, and hope.
For more advice and wisdom in godly parenting, check out the following resources:
Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
Follow God’s Example
Of course, there are many different ways to be an influencer. The main thing to remember- in any leadership role- is to Follow God’s example as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-3).
Seek Him; He will not steer you wrong.
Seek to love others like Him; He will not steer them wrong, either.
Vow to Change: An Encouraging Call to Action
At the beginning of this post, I asked who (or what) are your biggest influencers?
Who (or what) speaks into your life the most? Who has a genuine influence on your life consistently? Take a moment to write down your answers.
Look at your list of names and ask these follow-up questions: Does this person reliably point me to Christ, or do I struggle with certain sin when I’m around him/her?
Still looking at the list, who are the people you need to move out of their position of influence and instead see your need to be a godly influencer in their lives? Be prepared to distance yourself from people you’ve drawn false wisdom from until you’re in a position of Biblical knowledge and spiritual stability. Don’t end the relationship, but rather than calling them in a crisis, seek Christ first, search for answers to your questions in the Bible, and pray, seeking godly counsel from Biblically-wise people God has placed in your life.
Be an Influencer for Christ and His Kingdom
As Christians, we are charged to out-teach and out-influence the lies our culture promotes. This doesn’t mean be a loud voice of your own opinions, rather, simply be present with Biblical truth when the fallacy of Satan's lies are found to be worthless.
Jesus asks us to be influencers first and foremost on our closest sphere: family and close friends. Then on acquaintances outside of our immediate comfort zone (coworkers, fellow church folks, friends of friends). And finally, He asks us to be a light (an influencer) to those who do not know Christ in our community and beyond.
Don’t worry, we are NEVER alone as an influencer; God is ALWAYS with us (Matthew 28:20).
We can also take comfort in knowing we are not the only ones God has commanded to “go and make disciples.”
Anyone who’s a follower of Him should be an influencer for Him.
It’s been this way from the beginning of time, and God- in His wisdom- tells us of many influencers in His Word.
To go deeper and learn more about what it takes to be a godly influencer, check out this post’s corresponding podcast: Who Are Your Marriage Influencers?
Now go and be light for Him.
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