How The Right Influence Can Impact Your Whole Year (And Life)!
1 Samuel 30:1-15 | 2 Samuel 12:1-15
Where do you turn?
Where do you turn when you find yourself afraid, discouraged, or rejected?
Where do you turn when the world around you seems to tear you down or weaken you with its sin?
Who can you trust to step in at any moment and point you to the right path you need to be walking on?
Influence is so important to a believer’s life.
If your friends determine the sort of future you can expect, then who are you allowing to influence your life? Who do you turn to when things aren’t going your way? Who do you turn to when you find yourself up against resistance to the calling God has placed on your life? Who do you listen to, even when you don’t want to hear their words?
All of this will influence the year you will have. All of it will determine whether or not your godly change will be lasting.
Let’s take a closer look at each of today’s passages and the important part that influence played.
1 Samuel 30:1-15
In this passage, we find David and his men grief-stricken and angry. They had come home to find their wives, sons, and daughters missing and their homes destroyed by fire. At first, David and his men had wept until they had “no more strength to weep” (1 Sam 30:4b ESV). Then his men had turned on David. They needed someone to blame and why not look at the boss? Suddenly David was their enemy. What strikes me is David’s response:
“But David strengthened himself in the Lord His God” 1 Samuel 30:6 ESV
He didn’t try to gain favor in his men’s eyes. He didn’t try to defend himself. He didn’t try looking for a friend in a sea of enemies. He just turned to God. He sought God and found his encouragement in the Lord His God.
When we find ourselves discouraged, confused, grief-stricken, where do we turn? How do we respond to these types of situations? Do we try to work the situation to our advantage or do we just seek God and allow Him to guide and direct us? Do we even seek God at all?
I think so many of us immediately put our hands onto a situation that really requires that we leave our hands off of it. Bluntly put, we attempt to take God’s place. We start working and aiming to get everyone to like us, rather than allowing God to lead us (even in our responses). What we end up creating is a royal mess! Can you imagine if David would have decided to defend himself to this angry army? No matter what he could say, I’m sure the end result would not have been favorable. Maybe they would have been moved to kill him. Maybe they would have lost respect for him. If David would have tried to work things in his favor, it’s more likely that he would not have succeeded.
Instead, David relied on God to do His part. He didn’t try doing God’s part. He didn’t try to manipulate the situation to his advantage. He sought God for encouragement and then direction. He seems to completely tune out his men’s threats and bitterness. For a moment, it was just him and God.
By looking to God to influence the situation, David was able to move forward from that moment with the respect of his men. He approached the whole situation with the right attitude and the right outlook. This allowed him to have the right response to the situation! He is never recorded as addressing his men’s bitterness or threats, but they simply set off to take back what was stolen from them. Thanks to God’s leading (and influence), they all recovered their stolen families.
Having the right influence meant that David had the right response, the right attitude, his men’s respect, and the victory. Best of all, he was able to gain all of this because of His obedience to God.
2 Samuel 12:1-15
Here, we find David in a bit of a pickle. He was drowning in his sin, working so hard to stay in control of the mess he had created. You see, he had committed adultery and then killed her husband. He did all this to cover up the fact he had committed adultery and her pregnancy.
Few people would be gutsy enough to step into such a mess to speak truth and point David back to the Lord. Nathan was such a man (a friend) who was able to speak into David’s life and get him to listen. Nathan obeyed God by speaking God’s message to David, regardless of what the consequences could be. After all, he was confronting the king. What if the king didn’t like what Nathan had to say? Would the king have him killed too, in order to continue the elaborate cover-up of his sin?
Nathan spoke. David listened. David even repented of his sin! Talk about influence!
In this sort of situation, I’m challenged to consider my own influence on the world around me. Am I the kind of person who could speak through the mess to point others back to a right relationship with God? Am I using my own influence in this way, or would I be the person who keeps quiet or pulls others away from God?
On the flip side, am I surrounding myself with Nathan’s? Am I surrounding myself with people gutsy enough to offend me in order to point me back to a right relationship with God? Too often we choose to surround ourselves with people who say the things we want to hear, but what about when what we want to hear is contradictory to what God is trying to say?
This is why it’s so important to consider influence as we face a new year. When we want lasting change, we need to surround ourselves with gutsy people who are willing to speak to us out of obedience to God. We need people willing to confront us with God’s message. We need people who love us enough to not allow us to continue on in our destructive ways.
If we want our year to be a year of transformation, we need to consider our influences. I want to be like David who turned to God first before he even responded to situations. And I want to be like David who brought Nathan into his own life. He gave permission to Nathan to simply be God’s mouthpiece at a time when David would have preferred to have ignored his own sins. I want to surround myself with people who point me to God and point me towards freedom. Above all, I want to be willing to listen to God, no matter what form His message arrives in.
What about you?