When I played basketball in high school we would have games where it seemed as though we were sleeping through the game, but then the fourth quarter would come and the coach would yell at us, “Wake Up” – she was telling us to pay attention and look alive so maybe we would finish the game well. This is the picture the Lord has been showing me of the Church (The Body of Christ made up of those who profess to believe in Jesus, the Son of God who died on the Cross and whom God raised from the grave…). The picture of a sleeping Church, a comfortable Church. The problem with sleepy, comfortable churches is they are more susceptible to deception, false teaching, unbiblical ideas, methods and concepts. We have got to wake up. We have got to start paying attention to what is coming into our churches and even to who and what we allow to influence us in our personal walk with the Lord. The past few weeks the Lord has been reminding me of the importance of ‘influence‘ and those we allow to influence us…even on a more personal level, who I allow to influence who I am as a Believer. It goes beyond us. Think of one or two people you allow to influence you as a Believer. Do you know who influences them? Do you know who they are attaching themselves to and what do those people reflect in what they believe as ‘Christians’? Does this really matter? Absolutely!
Who you spend time with the most is who you will become.
Who we allow to influence us as Believers, they are going to be who influence our thinking, our beliefs, how we live that out. So, what happens when the people we allow to influence us begin to drift from sound biblical teaching because of those who influence them?! We will find ourselves heading into deception. Influence can be good, but it can also be like yeast infecting the entire loaf of bread. In Matthew 16:11-12 Jesus is talking to the disciples, cautioning them about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees – influence. Their influence and teaching (doctrine) would be harmful to them. What happens when you have been influenced by someone who is being influenced by others who are not teaching sound biblical teaching AND you begin passing that same unbiblical influence on to other Believers? We are accountable for that – Guess what?! This IS happening in the Church. It is happening with people who influence thousands of Believers daily! It’s happening in local churches all over the country and it is ALL because of the influence of others who even though they are not walking in Biblical truth, they are given room to influence.
It’s the Fourth Quarter Church, if we want to finish well we have got to WAKE UP! Are you teachable enough that the Lord has the ability, the freedom to show you who or what you are allowing to influence you as a Believer that is not inline with sound Biblical teaching? Are you willing to ask Him to show you and then remove those influences? (Honestly, I have had to do this over the past couple of weeks as I have come across some things with people I enjoyed learning from, but they are clearly not walking in Biblical truth and I can’t walk right with the Lord if I continue to allow these people a place of influence in my life. It is so disappointing.) We need to get back to being influenced by the Word of God most and to cut the threads of anything that is not biblically sound. That’s it. StraightUp!