In current social media culture, there are people called ‘Influencers.” Many of these people make a living off of advertising products using with their widespread following on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Influencers range from vloggers, activists, journalists, style icons, actors, etc. If you have over 1 million followers, you’re considered a mega-influencer.
In·flu·ence is defined as: “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
The “capacity to have an effect on character” is a powerful concept to consider. Whether we seek to “follow” influencers online or not, they impact the online culture all around us. It’s fairly easy to identify unhealthy, negative friendships or influencers in our in-person lives and see their impact on us. It’s much more difficult to see the slow creep of influence over our minds and spirit that happens while we are scrolling.
The Bible warned of influencers long before we had feeds or reels:
Proverbs 13:20 NIV
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Oh, I love that! “Like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit.” We are told God is the ultimate influencer, and you will produce fruit because of it! We are also told to be influenced by Christians seeking after God. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
We understand that sinful influencers are bad, but we need to be on the lookout for the wolf in sheep's clothing - people who look like Christians but have strayed from the teachings of the Bible:
1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Do not let yourself be led blindly. In order to have discernment, you need to know your Bible and learn to know God’s character.
Can I recommend….Stop the scroll and open your Bible app.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.