ODJ: good influence

December 27, 2015 

READ: Numbers 16:1-33 

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned (v.32).

We have two 5-month-old puppies that are energetic and love to explore. Azusa, the female, is the one filled with true wanderlust. Seymour simply becomes her partner in crime when he tries to keep up in a wild game of chase. From the same litter, they sleep together, eat out of the same bowl, and nestle against each other for comfort. Seymour’s affinity to follow his sister out the door, however, shows that misplaced loyalty can lead one astray.

The freedom of believers in Jesus, bought through the death of Christ, is a powerful gift. Our salvation, however, doesn’t fail-proof our decisions; and the temptation to falter appears readily in the context of our relationships (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 2 Peter 3:17).

Despite the miracles God had performed, it was the influence of ten spies that caused the Israelites to cower in fear (Numbers 13). And in Numbers 16, the voice of others brought distraction and, for some, rebellion (vv.1-3,19). Rather than offering wise counsel, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram used their influence for destruction when they spoke according to their own desires (Isaiah 9:15-16; Jeremiah 23:32).

We gain so much in our relationships with others: comfort, inspiration, instruction, and more. Not made to live in isolation, it’s important for us to grasp the power of relationships and what they mean in our spiritual growth (Numbers 16:24-26). Critical to our development is the ability to discern between a life-giving influence and relationships that can atrophy our walk with God (Proverbs 12:26).

As we worship and follow the God who leads and loves us, may we also help others grow in their relationship with Him (Numbers 16:22; Galatians 6:1-2).

—Regina Franklin

365-day-plan: 1 John 5:1-21

Read Psalm 1:1-6 and consider the difference between a life influenced by the ungodly and one influenced by those who are living for God. 
Have you been caught up in sin because of the influence of someone around you? Why must we also be aware that we can be wrongfully influenced even by someone within the church?