Influence can be defined as "the power to affect, control, or manipulate something or someone; the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as conduct, thoughts, or decisions."

This definition reveals that influence can be so powerful. A person under the power of influence can be changed for good and also for bad. Many things can act as a factor of influence.  The friends you keep, the family you come from, the school you attend, the church you worship in, the kind of books, music, and movies you watch, and the kind of words you hear or speak can also act as influences.

Influence can be positive or negative. Positive influences produce good results, and negative influences produce bad results. When you hear words that lift, motivate, and inspire, it will help boost your confidence. Those words act as a straw that stirs the drink. More so, if you hear more words that make you feel inadequate or not good enough, it will affect your self-esteem.

For example, a mother was assisting her little girl in doing her homework. The homework was in numbers.  At the start of 0–9, her mom was right, but when it got to ten, her daughter started to correct her. When her mom says "ten," she responds by saying it's "1 and 0."

Another example is when I try to talk about a particular Bible passage with my siblings. My brother would always have something to say about what his spiritual father or his mentor had once said about the passage that was being discussed.  He gives great details about how it was said and what brought about it.

These two scenarios fall under positive influence. However, it would be dangerous if the little girl as well as my brother fell under a negative influence. The little girl believes her teacher is right because she has always been taught that way. And the other had listened to what his spiritual father, and his mentor says that their words sound the best.

However, what acts as a factor for the positive influence is repetition.  Through repetition, words stick in the minds of both illustrators. That means something; it's not about what you see alone; it could be about what you hear and absorb. All that you hear is stored in your subconscious mind, and it keeps playing it back to you.

The kind of friends you keep can influence your life. If the friends that you keep engage in fraternal behaviors, although you do not engage in such, they might influence your mind in ways you never think of. One biblical example is Ammon, the son of David. His friend Jonadab was described as a crafty person.

He was someone Ammon shared his worries and troubles with. In the process of sharing, he was advised by Jonadab, when he disclosed to him that he was in love with his sister, to pretend as if he were ill. while he persuaded his father to allow Tamar to prepare and feed him with her hands. At the end, he raped his sister Tamar.

That would not have been possible if he did not get that demonic advice from his friend Jonadab. He was influenced by his friend through the means of communication, and that sounded like a good one because he thought he was in love. But after the rape, love immediately turned into hatred.

Many lives have been blessed just by listening to what someone said. Many lives have also been ruined just by listening to what someone said. It is as clear as day that suicide is never an option, but people attempt suicide through the activities they engage in, such as dark poetry and every other thought that is spiritually influenced by dark forces.

We are all products of influence. Whatever characteristics we exhibit are a result of influence. Our parents, church, school, and society at large have a way of influencing us. You might not even be aware that you've been influenced, but when you start to exhibit or see traits that are unlike your own, you begin to wonder how and where you got that from.

A promiscuous father will end up raising promiscuous children. First, the children will not see adultery or fornication as something bad. Women will become an object that can be toyed with because they've seen their father treat women that way. The saving grace in such a situation is when children who find themselves in such a situation decide not to walk the path their father walked through.

What is the way out?

Keep godly friends.

Be conscious of the kinds of books you read and the music and movies you watch.

Create an atmosphere that is filled with love, kindness, courage, and positivity for you and everyone around you. Stay aware of people who make you feel less important.

Be a good influencer. Be the reason someone has to change for the better. Through your words, let lives be transformed.

The last and most important of all is through the words of God. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV).

His words is a lamp unto your feets and a light to your path. Constant meditation on the Word of God makes the word so hidden in your heart that you no longer feel comfortable with sin.

The Word of God also purges out every negative form of influence. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).

With the Word of God, you become a positive influencer. You're no longer influenced by the world because the Word of God is inscribed in your heart and mind.


© Oluwadamilola Ajayi


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