Hidden Influences

Are there any hidden influencers in your life? Almost all of us will point to our parents as some of the people that greatly influenced our lives as we were growing up. However, there are no doubt others who have had an influence on us in some way or other. Many of us had a favorite teacher, relative, or member of the Church who by his or her example influenced our lives greatly. While many of these people may not have known that they were an influence upon us, they greatly helped to shape our lives. Think about those who might have touched your life throughout your years.

One man who greatly influenced the apostle Paul was Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a highly respected member of the Sanhedrin and a teacher. In Acts 22:3, we find that Paul, who was formerly called Saul, grew up in the area that we know as Turkey, was raised in Jerusalem, and was taught by Gamaliel. Those who taught us have a tremendous impact on us throughout all of our lives. Gamaliel was a Pharisee who taught strict allegiance to the law, and Paul become one who was “zealous toward God.” (Acts 22:3)

As the early church grew and became stronger, it was met with opposition. Even the Jewish high council, the Sanhedrin, brought punishment against the church. It imprisoned the apostles. It was furious with Peter and the others when they refused to quit teaching about Jesus Christ. The council eventually plotted to kill the apostles for disobeying them and spreading the Gospel when they were strictly forbidden to do so. Gamaliel stepped forward during this time and addressed the council. In Acts 5:38-39 we read, “If this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing: but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it.” There is so much truth in what he said even today. Gamaliel told the council, “Take heed to yourselves what you intend to do.” Years later Paul writes to the young man Timothy in I Timothy 4:16 and says, Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.”  Sounds almost like Gamaliel, doesn’t it?

Our lives, like Paul’s, are touched by all those around us. Every day we live we are influenced by people and circumstances that surround us. Who has influenced your life? Are you a Christian because of the impact someone had on your life? We need to rejoice that God has sent people into our lives that help us become like Him. Meditate upon the great examples that have led you to Christ. Perhaps, God sent them to you so that you may obey and have eternal life.