Relationships of Influence

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (ESV)

2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Have you ever considered that someone would be able to tell something about you by how you have influenced others. I guess this concept is pretty strait forward but I don’t think I have truly ever given it any consideration. I know I have heard folks say, “oh, so and so is such a good influence on so and so”, or “wow that kid there is a trouble-maker don’t let your kid play with them”. Yet, I never really thought of it in the context of the Kingdom.

Looking at the verses above from 2 Corinthians we find the Apostle Paul in the midst of trying to convey to the Corinthian believers that his ministry to them is valid. He is battling against a smear campaign that was designed to discredit him as  someone who wasn’t truly in tune with the work of God. The dissenters had even asserted that because Paul had suffered and endured trials then surely God was not with him.

I really like Paul’s response to this criticism and questioning of his validity as someone doing God’s will. He challenges these folks to look at themselves and the church in Corinth and see if they have been transformed by the work has he done with them. He rightly points out that the transformation they have experienced could only be a result of the Spirit working through the ministry, service, and message he introduced to them. I love the language he uses describing those who he had influenced as “a letter from Christ” that was “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”.

So what does it mean for us? For me it means I have to really take the relationships of influence I have more seriously. I would like to be able at the end of my days to say that everyone I was able to influence was influenced toward Jesus. The heavy thing here is that we have  vast relationships of influence to be mindful of. Spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, church family, neighbors, and more all may come under our influence at some point. My hope is that like Paul I will be able to say that I influenced them in the transformative power of the Spirit through the Gospel of Jesus.

What do you think? How do you see yourself influencing people?

Father, thank you for this day and your Word. I pray God that I would be mindful of those who I influence and I pray that by your Spirit working in and through me that they would be “a letter from Christ”. I offer you praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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