Webster defines the word influence as "the power of persons or things to affect others, seen only in its effects." Though the word influence is only found one time in the King James Version, its meaning is on every page.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that they are the "salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13-16). There are many interesting things you can say about this figure of speech. Salt is totally worthless while sitting on a shelf, it has to be applied. Salt can also loose its "saltiness." When it looses its power to flavor, it is good for nothing and must be discarded.
Paul told the brethren at Corinth they were an "epistle of Christ known and read by all men" (2 Cor. 3:1-3). Whether we like it or not, every Christian is an advertisement for Christ. It is rather scary to think the honor of Christ is in the hands of his disciples. Men of the world will judge Christ by the character of his followers.
Have you ever considered what type of an advertisement you are? One of our songs suggests that "We are the only Bible the careless world will read, We are the sinners gospel, we are the scoffers creed, We are the Lord's last message, given in deed and word, What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?"
Much of the book of Proverbs is devoted to warning young men about their choosing their companions. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed" (Prov. 13:20).
The majority of worldly people will pay very little attention to what we say, but our actions will always be scrutinized. When they think of our character and reputation, our actions will speak louder than our words.
Our oldest son has been deaf since birth. I have often been amazed at his ability to see through phony individuals. Though he can't always hear what people are saying, he is a pretty good judge of character. Several years ago a friend sent us this poem that I believe explains the situation very well. When you read the poem, think of how others view you.
A Deaf Child's Prayer
"Though I am deaf, I plainly see, When a face in anger shouts at me. Though true it is I do not hear, All notes of kindness to me are clear.
I have the sense of open eyes, Few friends or foes can be surprised, I know them fairly through and through, Not by what they say, but what they do."