Who are you? Who do you most resemble? Your mom? Your dad? Your best friend? Who influences your life?
I remember rolling my eyes when my mom would try to tell me that “so and so” was a bad influence. I couldn’t understand why she had so little faith in my own judgement and character that she thought I could be influenced. Chalk that up to another one of those things mom was right about—that column on my chalkboard is getting full!
Most parents today realize that their kids are influenced by others, and that who they hang out with really matters. Even as adults, we are influenced by the people we hang around with. Have you ever felt your attitude changed after spending time with someone who was constantly complaining or was cynical about everything? I know my attitude changes for the worse when I am around angry, selfish, or hateful people. And, in the same way, my attitude changes for the better when I am around people who are hopeful, compassionate and selfless. The truth is that who we spend time with really does affect our attitude.
There is a quote by Jim Rohn that states, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whenever I hear this quote, or one like it, I can’t help but consider who it is that I’ve been hanging out with lately and how they have influenced me. I try to imagine which of their traits I see in me; sometimes I’m pleased, and sometimes I’m disappointed. And then I have to ask myself, what kind of person should I be?
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (NIV). Paul then begins to list these amazingly humble and loving acts that Jesus did for us. As humans, when we find lists like this, our tendency is to go through them and check them off one at a time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder if we miss something bigger and more meaningful by doing that in this passage.
If my mom was right (and she probably was), then who I hang out with the most does influence me the most. And if I really want my attitude to be the same as Christ Jesus, then the solution is not to go down some list—it is to spend time with Jesus. That begs the question, “How much time do I really spend with Jesus?” Do I spend more time with Him than anyone else? Does He even make my top five list?
If we really want to be Christ-like, then there is only one way—spend time with Christ. We must go to church regularly. We must pray regularly. We must read the scriptures regularly. These are all biblically commanded and just common sense if we genuinely want to be like Jesus. And when we do these things, we should be intentional about them and make them priorities in our life. Some of us are in the vicinity of people but are not “with them.”
Instead, we are actually “with” Facebook, texts, Email, Internet, a video game or whatever else that is our true focus. So don’t just go to church—be there! Don’t just pray—communicate with your Creator! Make it a point to give more time to God than to anyone or anything else; otherwise He will not be your greatest influence. And if He is not your greatest influence, your attitude will reflect that.
When we read the works of God in the Bible, we find a God who exemplifies love, mercy, compassion, kindness, generosity, and humility; among so many other desirable characteristics. What if all Christians sought to reflect His attitude? Imagine how His Church could impact the world. But for this to happen, we need to hang out with Him.
Who really influences your life?
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!