Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)
The Influence Of A Godly Life
One of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a child of God is the influence of their life on others. Nothing shines as bright as the example of how a person conducts himself before the world. It is impossible to lose influence because everyone influences another whether good or bad. We suggest a person can lose their influence but what we mean is the conduct of a person’s life can have a negative impact on others. In fact, the influence remains and it can be one that helps to encourage, exhort, and uplift the lives of others or it can bring harm, hatred, and mistrust. This is especially true for those who profess to follow Jesus Christ. The world judges the character of a Christian by the conduct he follows as a child of God. Whatever the life of that man or woman is will reflect upon the nature of God.
The influence of a person’s life leaves an indelible impression on others. Peter begs and warns the early disciples to stay away from the influences of the world that will damage their impact as righteous, faithful, and holy people. In a world filled with the desires of the flesh, the Christian must rise above the carnal pleasures and show a life of purity devoted to the will of God. Hypocrisy will turn the hearts of people away from the truth that will save their souls if they see the Christian preach purity and yet indulge in the same sins. The lusts of the flesh war against all souls – righteous and unrighteous. Ungodly people do not resist their desires because they are not living after the righteousness of God. There is no hypocrisy in their lives because they do not profess to be different. It is the child of God that declares they will serve the will of the Father and follow guidelines of holiness that set them apart from the world.
With all the efforts of the Christian to live a good and peaceable life before all men, there will be criticism. Righteousness has always suffered at the hand of persecution. Even when a person lives with noble aspirations, the world will speak evil of them. Desiring to live a godly life will bring persecution from a world that has no restraint and no love for God. The Holy Spirit never suggests that living a righteous life will be without oppression. What He does say is that if a man is to be spoken evil of, let the evil that is spoken be the good a person is doing. It seems a conflict but the world does not recognize the value of righteousness. Honorable conduct will be spoken evil of because the world is threatened by the judgments of God’s will. The Christian must conduct their life in keeping with the character of Christ. Jesus never reviled any man and yet they killed Him. The world will do the same with the Christian so by the good works of the child of God, the world will see the glory of the Father. Everything should be for the glory of God so the world can know how much God loves the world.
The influence of a godly life may be the only way some will come to know the truth. Evangelism requires more than a good example but without the proper influence, it will be impossible for a heart to see God when the life of the Christian is without God. The world is only a temporary place for those who see God. This becomes the basis of life to show the world that life is but a vapor and eternity is the most important part of life. The conduct of the Christian is to show the world that life is a brief moment but eternity is without end. Any life that is measured by eternity will live with a fully purposed life glorifying God. The sad reality of those who measure their lives by the world will find nothing at the end of life. As temporary residents of a world destined to be destroyed, the influence of the child of God will show what is of greater value. Honorable conduct can change a life.