We become what we allow ourselves to consume. We become like those with whom we surround ourselves, and those we seek to emulate. Whether or not something influences us is not the correct question. Each of us is being influenced every day by something or someone. The only question we then have to ask ourselves is who or what is doing the influencing. Unless we are intentional about what we choose to allow into our hearts and minds, we will slip into a pattern of living that is not consistent with the person Christ created us to be.
Today’s world is so much different from the one in which I grew up. Today, information, entertainment, and advertisements are virtually omnipresent. We are constantly connected to friends and family via twitter, texting, and Facebook. There is virtually no off switch to our constant connectivity. We are being influenced by someone or something twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Unless we give conscious thought to how we are allowing ourselves to be influenced, we will end up living a life that is someone else’s plan for us, not God’s. As Jim Rohn used to say, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
The Bible instructs us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). This means that we should examine everything that enters our brain. Before we allow ourselves to dwell or act on a thought we should quickly run it through the filter of what we have been instructed to think about (Philippians 4:8). Is it honorable? Is it just? Is it pure, lovely, and commendable? Is it morally excellent or worthy of praise? If not, we should immediately kick it out. We get ourselves into trouble when we don’t filter our thoughts and allow the people and the culture around us to distract us from living a life wholly devoted to Christ. We see something desirable and immediately reach for it because we haven’t taken a couple of seconds to determine whether or not what we are reaching for will be healthy for us.
The internet, radio, and television all pour images and ideas into our minds that often are at odds with what God would have dwell within us. The vast majority of people I know spend far more time tuned into media than they do to God. This is a dangerous balance and if we aren’t careful, we’ll find ourselves drifting desperately away from God without ever realizing its happening. I’m not advocating you cut your internet connection or throw out your televisions and radios. I am saying we all need to take an honest look at how we spend our time and at the effect those things have on us.
We are what we allow ourselves to become. Left to our own devices, we are horribly self-centered and selfish people. In our culture, we crave entertainment and stuff. We are consumed with fitting in, looking a certain way, and holding a certain status. Rarely will any of these things pass the Philippians 4:8 test. We’ve got to change our thoughts before they change us. We’ve got to intentionally focus on Jesus and nothing else. Every moment we are allowing our lives to be impacted by either Jesus or the world. Who or what is influencing you?
What is one thing you can do this week to intentionally alter what you allow to influence you? Share your thoughts to encourage others by leaving a comment below.