We are influenced in many ways. “Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).
Our families and neighbors that influence us greatly. The eras and locations in which people are born incredibly influence the way we process information, understand emotions, relate to others, and even the way we relate to ourselves. Those born in Gospel rich areas have far greater opportunities than those born in areas isolated from the Gospel for centuries.
We are also influenced by ourselves. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Proverbs 28:26 says, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Our deceitful heart can lead us further away from God. Paul wrote, “but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools … Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (Rom. 1:21-24). The further we wander from God, the more difficult it will be to find our way home to him. The more we seek God, the more he will draw nigh unto us (Js. 4:8).
But thankfully there are godly influences drawing Heavenward. God’s creation points us back to the Creator (Heb. 3:4; Rom. 1:20). In Jesus “the goodness and loving kindness of God has appeared” (Titus 3:4). The appearance of Jesus draws us to the Father. Preaching the Gospel opens the opportunity for faith to begin in hearers (Rom. 10:17). The Scriptures are the lamp to our path (Ps. 119:105). Christians themselves are “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” and “a city set upon a hill.”
We are being pulled. Our hearts are in a constant tug-of-war. The victor determines the eternal home of our souls. What influences will win your soul?