Why should we desire to influence others? Because leading, inspiring and encouraging others in godliness is a great privilege! 1 Thess. 5:14 urges us to “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” We should love to allow God use us to influence others for His kingdom. We also need to use our time wisely, and by clarifying the purpose of our friendships we can wisely use our time while making an eternal impact in those around us! “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15-16
Who are we to be influenced by? Those who are godly, who will encourage, exhort and inspire you. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.” (3 John 11) Unbelievers and less mature friends should be influenced by us, not the other way around. When I was younger, my mom used to tell me that if I wanted to play with neighbors that I needed to always be influencing, not being influenced. This is incredibly important because allowing ourselves to be influenced by people that we don’t spur us towards godliness will reap bad fruit. Remember, someone is always influencing; either you are the one influencing or you are being influenced.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.