The Power of Influence
One of the most striking ways the Bible teaches us concerning the power of influence is with the illustration of leaven. The statement, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump" is stated twice in Scripture (1Cor. 5:6, Gal. 5:9). In fact, the word "leaven" is used 11 times in the New Testament and in each place, it is used with reference to the pervading power of influence. Now, leaven is a substance that causes fermentation, like yeast, and when only a small amount is added to a large lump of dough it ferments the whole lump. Thus, while it is small in quantity that permeates the whole substance it comes in contact, so it is with influence, meaning, that it only takes a little to have a great effect.
Now, influence can be either for good or bad. The kind of influence we have on others is based on what we allow to influence ourselves and if we are not careful, some influences may be slowly corrupt and change us. One can see the influencing power of leaven by the way it changes the dough’s shape and temperature. Thus, if we allow the leaven of this world to influence us, our lives will slowly be changed from what God would have them to be, into lives filled with worldliness and sin. For, it only takes one companion with wicked thoughts and lifestyle to gradually lead you into the same kind of sin. Likewise, evil influences are all around us and if we are not careful, we could infect our minds with filth and desires that God does not want us to have. Therefore, we must focus on the good and have good influence on others less we do wrong and be held accountable for our wrongful influence on others.
Now, whether we think so or not, there is someone who is watching us. Consciously or not, someone is being influenced by our words and actions. Thus, what we do and say might seem insignificant, but in reality, our influence has a far reaching effect. We have influence in our community, in the work place, and especially in our homes. Children are mainly molded by the kind of influence they receive from their parents and children who are influenced by parents who are worldly minded and insensitive toward sin, will grow up to have the same mind set. Therefore, we must never allow our influence to become a stumbling block to others. For as Jesus declared, “whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh!” (Matt. 18:6-7 ASV). Now, what are you allowing to influence your life? What kind of influence are you having on those around you?