Who is influencing you? A question I ask myself often and one I like to ask the young people I mentor.
Why? Because people who you choose to closely associate with influence your life significantly! It influences the direction of your life and it shapes your life in two majors ways: how you spend your time and what you value.
Experts who study human development and personal development provide strong data that supports Jim Rohn’s statement, “We become the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn is not the only one who thinks this way. John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Andy Andrews, Joyce Meyer, and Charles Stanley, just to name a few, all agree that who you closely associate with directly influences your life in a major way.
God is the best teacher on influence, especially through HIS WORD…..
Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise.”
Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous choose their friends carefully.”
Proverbs 11:25, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character.”
Proverbs 22:24-25, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered. or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”
These verses are just a small sampling of what God has to say on influence. Paying attention to who you spend time with…who you allow to influence your life…is VITALLY IMPORTANT. There are three actions I look for in other people who I want to influence me. I also encourage those I mentor and those to whom I speak to look for these actions or qualities.
Develop me, and
I find spending a large amount of time with those who motivate, encourage and lead me to spend more time with Jesus and in His word, DRIVE ME. They are living it and I directly witness the fruit in their lives and it drives me. Everyone you know will either move you toward Jesus or away from Him. It is a choice. Influence here is KEY.
It is most beneficial for me to spend time with those who Develop me. Scripture teaches that “iron sharpens iron.” To develop someone, you have to spending time with them. These are people who listen to me and who are willing to teach me…..who take the time to lovingly and willingly look to see where I am and give me higher steps to take. They don’t just tell me what to do, but they are willing to show me and hold me accountable.
I have one friend who has spent an exorbitant amount of time in helping me to develop, hours upon hours. She is very wise. On this side of heaven she may not see all the benefits but am I sure God will bless her for her efforts in helping me to develop! In turn, I have been able to develop others. It is a gift that keeps on giving.
Who doesn’t want to spend time with those that “delight” us? These are the people who love me and when I mess up, they laugh and say, “Me too. I’ve done the same thing.” These are people who allow me to be me. We laugh together. We encourage each other. We don’t keep score, but often reciprocation always happens. It is never a one-way street. I have found that those who are just “takers” in life are not people I can “delight in.” Those who delight always encourage.
You may be saying to yourself, “This is all well and good, but I don’t have friends like that.” Ask the Lord to enable you to “walk with the wise so that you can become wise.” Put Scripture to prayer. God’s word will not return to Him void. It may take time to find the right “connections.” Remember though to not be just a “taker” in life. Look for those who you, in turn, can influence. Drive them to Jesus. Develop them. And find a mutual delight in.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” (I Thessalonians 5:11).