Bob Tamasy: Living Under The Influence - The Right Way

  • Monday, April 15, 2024
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Who’s influencing you? One of the phenomena of the Internet and social media is the emergence of people often described by the term, “influencers.” They come at us from many different directions, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

We have the “famous” people: Politicians; TV and movie stars; entertainers and musicians; giants of business and industry; news reporters and commentators; billionaires; authors; religious leaders. It seems these days everyone has an opinion about everything, whether they know anything about it or not – and they’re all too eager to share it with others.

Then there are the folks who are “famous for being famous”: Faces we can see and voices we can hear on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X (are “tweets” now X-rated comments?), and others.

There are podcasters who speak with conviction on everything under the sun, from marriage and raising kids to what’s wrong with society to how to master a musical instrument. It’s so easy to be influenced these days. The question is, do we recognize who is influencing us – and how?

Despite being a journalist for all of my adult years, I’ve found that allowing myself to be exposed to the news too much is toxic. If there’s any doubt about whether the world is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket, just a few minutes’ worth of the day’s news will dispel those questions. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on around us and across the globe, but too much of “the sky is falling!” can be – and is – hazardous to our mental and emotional well-being.

How can we sift through the noise and learn to concentrate on the good and positive influences, while avoiding the scourge of bad influences? For those of us who are followers of Christ, one of the best ways is to spend time alone with God each day, reading and studying His Word, praying, and seeking to gain His perspective on what’s happening in these chaotic days in the middle of the 21st century’s third decade.

For example, in Philippians 4:8 we’re admonished, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute – if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise – dwell on these things.”

The people we see on social media, the music we listen to, the books and articles we read, the commentaries we hear: Are they enhancing our lives, building us up and equipping us for impactful, fruitful lives? Or are they tearing us down, eroding the hope and confidence we have in God’s sovereign plan for us and His creation?

This is another reason to determine to meet regularly with other believers, in traditional church settings and in other ways as well. Hebrews 10:24-25 says it so well: “And let us consider how we ay spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day [of Christ] approaching.”

There’s another side to this influence coin: What kind of influence are we having on others? Do people perceive us as good news so we have opportunities to communicate the really Good News of Christ, through our lives and when possible, our words? It’s not easy, but the Scriptures command that as we’re going through everyday life, we’re to “be witnesses” (Acts 1:8) and “Christ’s ambassadors” (1 Corinthians 5:20).

Chris Simpson, President of CBMC International, expresses it this way: “Creating human influence is cheap and easy – tell them what they want to hear. Godly influence is costly – it will challenge and rebuke, as it encourages and empowers.”

We can’t fix the world. That’s way above our pay grade. Ultimately, only God can do that. But if we strive to do as the apostle Paul declared in Acts 17:28, “in Him we live and move and have our being,” we can minimize negative outside influences and increase our own influence for Christ – to His glory.

* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.

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