This post is a teaching I did at Living Water Teaching’s US headquarters located in Caddo Mills, TX. You can CLICK HERE to listen to the recording now or CLICK HERE to go to iTunes and download the Podcast.
Influence is defined as: “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”
One of the most important choices we make in life is what we ALLOW to influence us. Please take note of the word, ALLOW. We allow what influences us, it can’t take control and do it all on its own!
One major influence is what or who we spend the most time with. What we listen to, watch, read and allow to be in our lives, becomes a potential influencer.
In Proverbs 13, we read about the topic of wisdom. I really like v:20 in the NLT translation, which says: “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
There are two powerful forces that battle to influence us, wisdom and foolishness. The Bible reveals to us in Proverbs 9 that they are competing for our attention, calling out for us to follow them. So many people take the bait, hook, line, and sinker!
Something important to note about foolishness; it’s deceptive, and it can appear informed and attractive. We see it all over social media, in print, on tv and hear it on the radio. I was thinking about the news as I wrote this and the effect it has as we listen to it and then when you add the pictures to it as well, it can get so much worse. Most of the time, it provokes us to react because of the things we hear and see, and not in the right way.
To get a true understanding of wisdom and foolishness, let’s look at how they are defined.
Foolishness is defined as: “Lack of good sense or judgment; stupidity.”
Wisdom is defined as: “The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.”
Wisdom and foolishness express themselves through the words of the influencers which we allow into our lives. We’d like to think we’d never be influenced by foolish people. However, foolishness is deceptive and can appear informed and attractive.
When we read 2 Corinthians 11, we read where Paul was frustrated because the church allowed foolishness to deceive them. We read about their faithfulness as well as their foolishness, along with false apostles. Paul brings truth to light to distinguish the wise people apart from the foolish people. Here are three ways he did it; they can help us in our daily lives.
1. Fools listen to anything anyone says. Wise people compare what they hear to God’s Word and in prayer receive revelation. They also seek wise counsel from those that they trust. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
2. Fools look to move up the ladder, becoming anyone and saying anything to get ahead. We call this type of person a YES person. Wise people are faithful with the opportunities God gives them, and they always put others first. (2 Corinthians 11:7-15).
3. Fools boast about their achievements (2 Corinthians 11:17-18). The wise know to boast in the Lord. (2 Corinthians 11:30-31).
Listening to foolish influences carries harmful consequences, but listening to the wise can help makes us wise (Proverbs 13:20).
In a world so full of opinions, the Bible must always be our rudder of truth and wisdom.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself:
1. Who or what influences you the most? Based on the three things previously mentioned, are those influences wise or foolish?
2. If necessary, what is one way you can begin now to change who and or what influences you today?
3. What is one situation you need to ask God for wisdom about? James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”.