Two boys were walking along, looking as if they wanted to get into a little bit of mischief. While walking, I heard a voice calling for them to come back. Instantly one boy turned around and started going towards the woman, when the other boy grabbed his arm, told him to ignore her and just keep going. A second time you heard the woman yell for them. Once again the first boy turned toward her and began walking her way, when the second boy told him not to and to continue on with him. After several moments of the second boy, pulling on and working hard to get the first boy to disobey, and seeing the obvious struggle in the eyes and body language of the first boy, eventually the second boy got his way and both boys ended up running the opposite direction of the woman.
Influence. We all have influence over people, and we may have no idea how we are affecting them. The influence can also go both ways. You could be dragging someone else down, or they could be dragging you! Have you ever had a habit that you just can't seem to shake? Maybe you smoke, or maybe you can't help overeating. It is something that you may have struggled with for a long time. To get over these things are hard because we usually surround ourselves with people who have those same issues. "Birds of a feather" they say. If you smoke, you have your smoking buddies that you hang outside with during work breaks. If you like to eat, usually your whole family does too, making it hard to diet while they feast on chicken wings.
The principle of influence also applies to our spiritual life. If we are spending large amounts of time with people who don't go to church, maybe never read the Bible, don't believe it is wrong to cheat on your spouse, or are comfortable lying, then you too, slowly become influenced by these things. Slowly you drop your guard and begin to rationalize that the things you are doing are not so bad. For, if all your friends are doing it and seem to have it all together, it doesn't seem to be as sinful anymore. You spend extra time with a co-worker at the bars without your spouse, you slowly fall away from your marriage, you stop reading your Bible or attending church, and then suddenly you find yourself far away from where you ever thought you could be.
Be careful who your close friends are. The idea of "missionary dating", where a Christian dates or marries a non-christian to get them saved, never works. In the end you will be dragged down, not the other way around. It is far easier to go down a hill than to climb up it. It is not hard to eat a doughnut, but it sure is hard to get those love handles off! Make sure that not only are you surrounded by people of Godly influence, but that you yourself are also being a person that would not take the hand of someone next to you and cause them to be led astray.
"The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."