14 May 2014 by Mindy Oon CM –
Pastor Daniel Singh from Ignite Community Center, Serdang, spoke about INFLUENCE at FGA Ipoh Young Adults Service on Saturday night. Influence can be defined as ‘having the capacity to affect the character, behavior and development of someone or something.
In Luke Chapter 18:18-23, a rich young ruler approaches Jesus to find out what he needs to do in return for eternal life. ‘Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery’, Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not bear false witness,’, ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “you still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
This is an instance in the Bible that Jesus could not influence a person. There was something that was stopping the ruler from following Jesus. Today, there are many things that stop people, especially the younger generation from following Jesus. Young people today are challenged in many ways, much more than previous generations. Things such as living together before marriage, gay/lesbian relationship, and other subjects that were frowned upon twenty years ago have now become a norm, and if one were to go against that norm, they would be labeled as closed minded by today’s society. Others, who like this young ruler have known about God their whole lives, but as we grow older, we fall away because other things such as work, family, money take priority in our lives. Indeed, our faith is being challenged in many ways. As we grow older, there are also things that we hold dear. For this ruler, wealth was the most important thing that he could not let go off. We too, may have things that we hold dear too that is disrupting our walk with God.
As our faith is continually challenged every day, we, like the ruler, have a choice to make – we can either be influenced by what is of the world, or we can be influenced by what is good. The second thing to ponder over from this story is that we too, like Jesus, can make a decision to be an influence to the people we come in contact with. This is a choice that we can consciously make.
We must not be like the ruler who walked away. A few verses down Luke Chapter 18, we come across the blind man who receives his sight (Luke 18:35-43). Luke 18:39 says “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more “Son of David, have mercy on me!” He received his miracle because he was not influenced by those who tried to shut him up.
Many challenges will come our way in our walk with God. As His children, we need to be aware of what is happening around us. We need to be aware of what is influencing us, and how we can influence the people around us.
References for pictures: