Do you know that you have influence? If you call yourself a Christian, you have set yourself apart from the world. Therefore, anyone who claims Christianity has influence. But really it’s not a matter of if you have influence; it’s a matter of how you use your influence. As Christians there is a standard of living set for us. Throughout the Bible we see stories and example of how we should and shouldn’t live our lives, and as we all know, “actions speak louder than words.”
Second Chronicles 17 tell the story of Jehoshaphat and his reign over the land of Judah. He was the King, and he definitely had influence. Chapter 17 shows us how Jehoshaphat lived and the principals he lived by, making the most of his influence. Can the same be said of you?
Verse 1, Strengthen yourself. You must learn how to study and apply the Word of God to your life, job, family, marriage, relationships, struggles, etc. before you can have a positive influence on others. How can you be light in a dark world if you don’t apply God’s Word to your life?
Verse 2, Always be ready for battle. Notice the Bible doesn’t tell us that Judah is under attack, but Jehoshaphat still has his guard up. It’s a lot easier to defend yourself if your defense is up before an attack comes. This is why we train troops even when we aren’t in a time of war. For example, whether you struggle with internet pornography or not, go ahead and put parental controls on your computer and phone. That way you’ll be much less likely to run into a problem.
Verse 3, Learn from the best. Don’t listen to just anyone. Go back a couple chapters and read about Jehoshaphat’s dad, Asa. Jehoshaphat isn’t following his example for good reason. Instead he looks to the early way of his relative King David, before David got into a bunch of sin. Before you follow the advice of someone or follow their lead, do your homework and make sure he or she is someone you really need to be following.
Verse 4, Don’t let the world control your heart. Jehoshaphat didn’t follow the practices of Israel or the world around him. He was focused on God and the things of God. Set yourself apart from your friends at school or work. Romans 10:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Luke 16:15 says, “And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Following the world will get you nowhere!
Verse 5, Let the scope of your influence come from the Lord. Jehoshaphat wasn’t concerned about was following the world, making everyone happy or living like a celebrity. Jehoshaphat simply followed God. And because of that, God blessed him abundantly.
Verses 7-9, Use your position and resources to spread the Gospel. Jehoshaphat didn’t stop with his kingdom – he wanted everyone to hear about the Lord! The most important thing we can do is share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others! Jehoshaphat didn’t use his wealth on himself but used it to send out missionaries.
How do you live? And what does your influence look like? Are you mission-minded? These principles can be applied at work, school, in your community and anywhere else you might be. Jehoshaphat set a great example for us. Now take it, and use your influence to reach the world for Christ!