Whether we like to admit it or not, we are influencing other people to become like us. We can't really help it. When we are in friendship or close relationship of any kind with another person, we can't help but rub off on them a little bit and influence who they are because of who we are.
We see this all the time in our own children. When my 4-year old repeatedly toes the line between obedience and disobedience with me, I can't help but see reflections of how I must have been as a child. I hear her use words and phrases that I know are fairly unique to my vocabulary. She gets excited about things that excite me. (How many 4-year olds do you know that can go to a high school track meet and jump up and down in the stands shouting, "Go runners!", as if she's at the greatest sporting event in history?)
I wish this kind of influence was confined to my children, but I know it's not. While I may not have this same level of influence in other relationships, I am aware that who I am shows up in ways both large and small in the lives of others. My life is like a copy machine. So is yours. Whatever we set down on the glass gets duplicated onto the pages of other lives, sometimes clearly and other times a mere blurry reflection. But a copy nonetheless.
Which has me pondering today- what am I duplicating? E. Stanley Jones, a missionary pioneer to India in the early 1900's, once wrote, "O Christ, I want the Spirit within me to duplicate nothing- nothing except You." That seems like a prayer worth praying. For in all that I am, very little is truly of lasting value. My interests, desires, hobbies, etc, will one day be only memories. But the person of Jesus, his character and his love, will endure. To what extent does my life reflect this? And how do I live more intentionally so that one day my daughter loves Jesus more than running? How do I live this way so that what "rubs off" of me onto others is more of Jesus and less of the books I'm reading or the movies I'm watching?
What do you think? I think Paul in the New Testament gives us a hint. He says in I Corinthians 11:1- "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." Paul recognized that the only basis he had for asking others to follow Him was his own pursuit of Christ. I believe this is also true in our lives. We will duplicate the love and nature of Christ to others only so far as we are pursuing this love and nature in our own lives. Kind of gives new purpose and meaning to the old "personal quiet time" idea. I guess in the end our pursuit may be personal, but it is never for our benefit alone.
May you consider on your journey today what kind of copies your life is making. If this thought scares you, don't hesitate to call in the Master Repairman. His work is free, but not cheap.