Influences are in our morning, in the coffee we drink, the food we add to our bodies. They are in our beds with our dreams, with our worries. They are in the people next to us and they live on the plastic containers of our favorite products. There is no hiding from influence. Words persuade our thoughts. Stories, songs and speeches move our attitudes, change our position, win us over or make us angry. Try moving through the day like a robot. Don’t let anything in. Stay the same. Forget about words and thoughts. Forget about changing diets, working or socializing. Sit there like a rock. Eventually, as the time wears down, our minds will influence our bodies to get up and move before derangement takes over.
The clothes we wear, the words we speak, the look we put on our faces change our surroundings. Humans are moved by the slightest touch. Fragrance reminds us of childhood memories. A pat on the back turns our closed shell into open doors. A wink says everything. Colors change our moods. A greeting can be the difference between friendship and acquaintance.
Before we dress in the morning, before we eat, before we take the first step into the city or the field or school, let’s pray. Let’s consult the Lord. Let’s ask Jesus to prompt us to stop, think and pray to him when our influence for the day is important. We don’t know how someone is going to react to our normal behavior, and we don’t know what someone else is going to think about our appearance or our attitudes or our personal style. It’s important to ask the Lord what should I say in this situation, who should I talk to at this party, what should I buy for this person’s birthday, or what should I wear today. When we ask those things, we have to be careful not to listen to ourselves. The normal routine isn’t always good. The safe answer isn’t always the correct answer. For a season or, maybe, for just a day or an hour of the day, the Lord may need us to wear ugly clothes, talk about blood, eat roasted bugs, act macho, speak with a lisp, break the laws of physics so that he can reach those he wants to save.
We don’t need to obsess over every detail of our lives, but we do need to ask God to cue us when our influence becomes important for the well being of his children and, even, for our own legacy. “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).