July 13 – Leadership – Guarding Against Negative Influence

Read Galatians 5:7-9

Have you ever heard the saying “You are who you hang out with”?

When I’ve heard that in the past, I used to believe it was absolutely ridiculous and would say, “I don’t care what people think, I am my own person and none of my friends effect that”. I was confident that the people I was closest to didn’t change who I was. In high school, I thought I could have it all – go to church, go to parties, and be the same girl at both. After I started coming to church and started surrounding myself with a different crowd of people, I quickly learned that the people I had in my close circle did, in fact, effect me.

I had to change a few people within my inner circle so I could become the person who I knew God had created me to be.

What I have learned over the years is that, in order for me to love others and share the love of Christ with them, I need to first surround myself with people who are going to be pouring truth into my life. I can’t lead others well if I don’t first lead myself. Being a leader means that I need to be equipped to share the gospel to help others do the same. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to share the name of Jesus and to be a light in the lives of others. We’re not called to only hang out with other Christians or only church people, but rather we’re called to make disciples.

So, the question is . . . how do we do both, hang out with people who challenge us to be more like Christ and those who don’t know who Jesus is?

The best thing I’ve found is creating boundaries. For example, for my friends who don’t know who Jesus is, I am extremely cautious with how much time I spend with them so that I have a chance to influence them but limiting my time, in case I feel them beginning to influence me. Being a light in someone’s life is incredibly important but, if you’re the only light shining in a dark room, your light will begin to dim, and no one will be there to help it shine again if you’re relying on your own strength to power through.

Maybe you’re like I was in thinking that you’re strong enough to not let it effect you, but as Galatians 5:9 says, “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough”, which means that, if you’re only around those who don’t challenge you to be like Christ, it will impact who you are overtime. We could lead others to do that same, we just need to be intentional with whom we surround ourselves.

I challenge you to look at your list of friends.

Who are the people that can pour truth into your life? And what do you need to do to make sure these are the relationships that are influencing you? Who are the people that you’re able to influence, and what boundaries do you need to set in place to be a shining (not dim) light in their life? What does it look like for you to lead these people into also sharing the gospel with others in their lives?

Michelle Perrino

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