Mark Sanborn is an author and speaker from whom I have gleaned much wisdom over the years. One of the things he has said is, “You acquire much of the thinking, mannerisms, and characteristics of the people you are around.” It happens without any conscious effort on our part. Look at your circle of friends. I’ll bet if you tried, you would identify habits, dialects, and preferences you did not have before you began hanging out with them.
It’s what bonds people together in a unique way. Relationships thrive or die on whether this form of bonding occurs or not. Of course, not all the traits you graft on to yourself will be positive. There is as much opportunity to be worse for knowing your friends than there is to be better for it, so choose your friends wisely.
I say all the above to point out if you want to be like Jesus, hang out with Him more. A lot more. Wouldn’t you give anything to acquire the thinking, mannerisms, and characteristics of Jesus? All these traits can be yours for the simple price of spending time with Him. We seem to always find time to spend with those closest to us, but does that include Jesus? Sadly, Jesus is the one who often gets left out or left behind. We’d rather spend time with those of questionable influence than with the One of impeccable character.
Research has shown we will become the sum of the five people with whom we hang around the most. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want Jesus in the mix of my five people! In fact, I’d rather hang out with Him the most and let His influence on me impact everyone else with whom I associate. I want to be the positive force in someone else’s group of five because of the power of God in my own life. If we want to bless others, we first must be overwhelmingly blessed by God.
And here’s the good news: you have been overwhelmingly blessed! Jesus gave His life so you could live. He defeated death so you could avoid its consequences. We have the greatest message on earth, and it is incumbent we share it with all those with whom we come into contact. We can be the positive influence someone else needs because we have the way, the truth, and the life! How dare we keep Him to ourselves.
Sadly, we must return to the flip side of the influence our circle of friends and family have on us. Their negative experiences and actions might convince us to keep our knowledge of God under wraps. We might be uncomfortable sharing Him in the context of our relationships with our closest confidants. In fact, we might discover we enjoy doing some of what they do more than we enjoy the presence of God. This is tragic. Why would we ever trade what is eternal for those things which are only temporary? Why would we hide the truth in favor of a cascade of lies? Choose your friends wisely. Don’t ever allow a relationship on earth to overshadow your relationship with Christ.