The Influence of Others

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
—Matthew 6:33

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are beingtransformedinto his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18

We have this cute young lady who has been living with us for several months. My husband has dubbed her the Energizer Bunny. So it isn’t surprising that in her dialogues and answers she often uses an enthusiastic, snappy, staccato, “yep!”

So guess what I hear coming out of my mouth these days? Yep. Literally. And it’s probably not so cute coming out of an almost 52-year-old.

Then there’s my daughter. Her go-to phrase is, “That is so real.” So lately when I hear a statement that rings especially true, what do you think has been sliding off my tongue like a canoe down a waterfall? 

Whether I like it or not, the people I hang around rub off on me. Like when I touched my hubby’s freshly-painted robins-egg blue walls. Marked.

And I am influenced by others’ actions as well. Which got me to thinking… Although who I hang with did not make my initial list for 2018 goals, I decided it was something I needed to add. Who do I want to influence me? Since I want to be like Jesus the most, it struck me that I need to hang around him a little more than I do.

I want my words to be truthful and loving. Like Jesus. I want my actions to be loving. Like Jesus. I want to care about what he cares about. Bottom line, I want my heart to be more like Jesus’ heart. And my actions, thoughts and words flow out of my heart (Luke 6:45).

When I quiet myself enough, I hear his whispers and prodding’s on my heart. When I study his Word, I’m reminded of what he did for me. What he does through me. What he has already changed and made new in my life. What I need to walk in. When I hang around his people who are filled to the brim with his spirit, I get a glimpse of what it means to be salt and light to this world. I get marked. And I, in turn, mark others.

Leon Fontaine, in his book The Spirit Contemporary Life, talks about our two purposes. One is to discover our gifting and walk in that (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). The other is to spread the good news (Mark 16:15). To let people know they can stop running from God, or the opposite, trying to please God and always falling short. That Jesus did it all. On the cross. Through his blood brought reconciliation. Holiness. Repaired our relationship with our Creator. The striving can stop. The running can stop. That is good news indeed. And the world desperately needs it. Anything other than fulfilling these purposes will lead us void, as God has set eternity in all our hearts (Eccles. 3:11).

As I look at my short list of 2018 plans and goals, I add “Sit with Jesus more” at the top of my list. And I have a feeling the other things on the list will fall into place a little easier. Yep. That is so real.

We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.—Acts 14:15b

The reality is that God wants each of us to live great big lives filled with joy, purpose, and significance.
—Leon Fontaine

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Julie has been inspiring children, youth, and women as a speaker, teacher, silent retreat leader, author and mentor for over 30 years. She was the Director of Women's Bible Studies at Eagle Brook Church, is a certified Spiritual Director and the owner of Heart Matters Publishing Company. She is an alumnus of Bethel University and Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. As an author she has written Bible Study Curriculum and Devotionals, including her latest collaboration, Whispers of God's Grace. Julie draws on her wide range of life experiences, humor and love of God's Word and His creation for her writing. When she is not writing, you will find her absorbed in a good book, puttering in her garden or dreaming of France. Julie and her husband, Rey, live in White Bear Lake, MN and are the parents of two grown sons, Erik and Kyle.

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