By Titus Edwards
Mother yells, “Take your brother with you!” Out of the house pops a teenager, followed closely by his little brother. What the teenager does, the little boy does too. He hops over a fire hydrant and so does little brother. He jumps up to touch a sign, and so does little brother. Finally, he buys a Coke and so does little brother. This commercial has been running on television lately by the Coca-Cola Company. I am not trying to sell Coke, but I am trying to sell you on the importance of your influence!
Everybody has influence. Some have more than others. Some people’s influence is for good and some is for bad, but everybody has influence. By influence we simply mean the power to produce effects on other people. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Rom. 14:7). Even though you may be young does not mean that you do not have any influence. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Prov. 20:11).
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul wrote to his young preacher friend, Timothy. He said, “Let no man despise thy youth.” To despise involves thinking little of or lightly of a person. How do you keep people from thinking little of you because you are young? Paul went on to say how – “but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith: in purity.” Set a good example before others of what a Christian is supposed to be, that is what Paul is saying!
Paul, in 1 Timothy 4:12, lists six areas where Timothy needed to be an example. First, is word. This is our speech, our conversation. You can tell a lot about a person by listening to him. Indeed, our speech doth betray us at times. Second, is conversation. This involves the way you live in general, your manner of life. Third, comes charity. Charity is love. Having a good attitude is so important in influencing others for good. Fourth, comes spirit. I believe he is referring to zeal and enthusiasm when it comes to the Lord’s service. Fifth, comes faith. Faith involves a full commitment to the Lord, not just a bryllo cream religion – “a little dab will do you. ” Then finally, comes purity. You can never be a good example for others while evil and wickedness are in your life.
What is your life saying to others? Does it say, “I really care about God and going to heaven.” “I want to do right and be humble and kind to others. ” Or does it say, “I want to have a good time and be one of the guys.” “I am really with it.” “I know what’s happening in the world.”
Recognizing that you can influence others for good by the example you set should do two things. One, it should change your life. Understand that others are watching your life to see what you will do. Be a leader spiritually. Help other people to do right by what you do. Secondly, it will change other people’s lives. Goodness can be just as influential and contagious as evil. You may just help somebody find heaven because they see you looking for itl
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). As the Statue of Liberty holds forth the torch, representing liberty, so you as a Christian . shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life. . .” (Phil. 2:15-16). Remember, you wear the name of Christ. Don’t tarnish it. There just may be a little boy following you!
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 24, p. 744
December 20, 1984