“You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” Jeremiah 15:19c (NLT)
Are you more like a thermometer or a thermostat? One adjusts with the temperature in the room while the other changes the temperature. In other words, are others having more of an influence on you than you have on them? How are you using your influence? Just as God has called us to be good managers of our resources, He is concerned with how we use our influence. Jeremiah was a great prophet during a dark period in Israel’s history. His messages weren’t popular and often landed him in trouble with the leaders of his day. It would have been easy for Jeremiah to have been influenced by his culture and the messages of the false prophets who were so popular at the time. However, God had given Jeremiah a specific message, and he was to deliver it regardless of how others responded. Jeremiah felt angry, hurt and afraid and expressed his feelings to God. In response, God didn’t get angry at him. God is big enough to handle our honest emotions. God answered Jeremiah and said,
“If you return to Me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve Me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be My spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” Jeremiah 15:19 (NLT)
Maybe, like Jeremiah, you have found living the Christian life to be countercultural. The pressures of this world and the desires of your own flesh can pull you in the wrong direction, and your heart can feel the tension. At that moment, you are at a crossroads just as Jeremiah was. Admit your honest feelings to God. Let Him renew His Word in your heart and His purpose for your life. Recommit to use whatever influence God has given you to share His love with others regardless of the response. Know that He is with you and will never forsake you. Before long, you will see the temperature change as God works in the lives of those with whom you have influence.