Bronze influences. When we are born, we take in each and every action of our parents: some good actions, such as saying evening prayers; and some not so good actions, such as maybe slipping a bad word when we fall down. This “absorption” of action continues as we grow older, but the influence changes with age. As we go on our own, friends, roommates, educators, significant others, coworkers, employers, and others with whom we spend our free time take the place of our parents as influences in our daily life decisions. While we can’t control the actions of another person, we can control what and who we are going to let influence us. By choosing friends that share your same moral, ethical, and religious values, you build up a “wall of bronze” that will be difficult for bad influences to penetrate. “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Phil. 3:17.)
I recently began my college education this past fall, and there are many differing influences on any college campus. Drinking, smoking, skipping class, and cheating are just a few of the bad influences that many college students face on a regular basis. The hardest one to overcome for me comes at about 7:30 a.m. when my alarm goes off to go to those cursed 8 a.m. classes. When my alarm goes off again at 7:45 a.m. and I haven’t moved, my roommate sits up in bed and says, “Turn off that alarm and go to class,” or something to that nature. That, thankfully, gives me the extra push in the right direction.
We all need pushes sometimes to get moving. By surrounding ourselves with those who can push us in a direction towards Christ and strengthen our faith in his power, we can live more fulfilling lives in his promise of everlasting life. By choosing friends who share your faith, there isn’t pressure to go against the moral values that have been put into place. The relationships that embrace Christ as the center create not only stronger relationships but a more fulfilling life that is able to better resist temptation and bring an abundance of joy.