Influence Can be Good or Bad

It’s Up to You to Decide Which it’s Going to Be

As we continue our journey through the Old Testament this week, we look at Jacob and Rachel leaving Laban and the continued disfunction within this family.

Previously we talked about Jacob, with the help of their mother, cheating his brother Esau out of Esau’s inheritance. (Genesis 27:41-46) Jacob then escaped and went to his uncle Labon’s home and fell in love with Rachel, agreeing to work seven years so he could marry her. (Genesis 29:16-20)

Labon tricked Jacob and gave him Leah instead. Then Laban agreed to give Rachel to Jacob to marry, if he would work another seven years. (Genesis 29:21-30)

In an ironic twist, Jacob the deceiver had been deceived.

It seems that conniving runs in the family. In addition to Laban’s deception, a rivalry developed between the sisters. I don’t know about you, but being married to sisters sounds like a recipe for disaster. This is a big enough issue that in Leviticus 18:18, there’s a law that says as much.

Jacob had worked for a total of twenty years for Labon (Genesis 31:38-41) before he decided it was time to go back home to his family. So, he gathered his wives, children, and belongings and left without telling Laban. (Genesis 31:17-23)

Being true to her family heritage, Rachel stole her father’s idols and took them with her when they left. I’m not sure if this family drama was blood-line related or just influenced by association. 

We don’t have to be related to someone by blood to be influenced…either bad or good.

We can’t control who our family is, but we can control who and what we let influence us.

Too often we don’t take control of things that we have control over. Andy Andrews points this out in the “Guided Decision” of his Seven Decisions, ”I will seek wisdom”. He points out that what we put into our minds and who we associate with influences us, so we should choose these things wisely.

Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I will actively search her out. My past can never be changed, but I can change the future by changing my actions today. I will change my actions today! I will train my eyes and ears to read and listen to books and recordings that bring about positive changes in my personal relationships and a greater understanding of my fellowman. No longer will I bombard my mind with materials that feed my doubts and fears. I will read and listen only to what increases my belief in myself and my future.

I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care. I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire. If I associate with chickens, I will learn to scratch at the ground and squabble over crumbs. If I associate with eagles, I will learn to soar to great heights. I am an eagle. It is my destiny to fly.

I will seek wisdom. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. The words of a wise man are like raindrops on dry ground. They are precious and can be quickly used for immediate results. Only the blade of grass that catches a raindrop will prosper and grow. The person who ignores wise counsel is like the blade of grass untouched by the rain—soon to wither and die. When I counsel with just myself, I can make decisions only according to what I already know. By counseling with a wise man, I add his knowledge and experience to my own and dramatically increase my success.

I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. A wise man will cultivate a servant’s spirit, for that particular attribute attracts people like no other. As I humbly serve others, their wisdom will be freely shared with me. Often, the person who develops a servant’s spirit becomes wealthy beyond measure. Many times, a servant has the ear of the king, and a humble servant often becomes a king, for he is the popular choice of the people. He who serves the most grows the fastest.

I will become a humble servant. I will not look for someone to open my door—I will look to open the door for someone. I will not be distressed when no one is available to help me—I will be excited when I am available to help.

I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care. I will seek wisdom. (2nd Decision)

Not only are we influenced by what we put into our minds and who we associate with, but our actions can have an influence on others.

We need to remember that the things we do can affect those around us, so we should act in a way that will have a positive influence rather than negative.

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