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Lessons From Animals--"Influence"

"Live such good lives among non-believers that they may see your good deeds and glorify God..."
1 Peter 2:12

 

In my last article, I implied that one of my dogs, Annie, might not have been the best of influences on my other dog, Kasey. A bit of explanation is in order:

When I adopted Kasey in December of 2002, she was about a year old. And, aside from her unruly knack for escaping from the kennel, she was VERY well-behaved. So well-behaved, I would walk her along the lake without a leash, and she would stay by my side--regardless of the distractions around her. In fact, it was on one of these very walks that we found Orphan Annie, a stray at the lake. (Cue musical interlude while narrator says, "And the rest is history…")

Wha?  I couldn't quite hear you, Dad!Annie was NOT as well-behaved as Kasey--probably because she was not as well-trained as Kasey. And, in short order, it began to rub off. Kasey began running off with Annie. Her "listening and minding" skills began to diminish. I had to leash her while walking the lake--because now EVERY dog was a potential playmate! Very often I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 15:33--"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" And while I dearly love my dog Annie, I cannot deny she may have corrupted some of Kasey's good character!

The same is often true for us. Who is your company? Who has influence over you? Are they of good character, or do they corrupt character? Do they draw you closer to Jesus? Another, equally important, question: who do YOU have influence over? Do you draw others closer to Jesus?

2 Peter 2:12 states, "Live such good lives among non-believers that they may see your good deeds and glorify God…" (paraphrased). Even when we aren't actively witnessing to others, our behavior and conduct reflects the Lord we serve. The question then becomes: HOW does it reflect?

There's an interesting dialogue found in Jeremiah 3. The Lord is speaking to the peoples of two countries, Israel and Judah, and speaking of their disloyalty in worshiping idols. He speaks metaphorically, as if speaking of two women who have committed adultery. In Jeremiah 3:6 - 9, He says it this way:

 

During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood."

 

Judah saw Israel's behavior, adopted it, and entered into a life of sin. Israel should have been a model of faith. Unfortunately, Israel WAS a model--a bad one!

As followers of Christ, we're called to set a good example. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us." We are Christ's ambassadors--we represent Jesus Christ! Let's make sure we're setting a good example. Be careful who influences you--and be careful how you influence others.

 

 In Christ,

 

--Pastor Dan

 

 

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