I was listening to someone share some of their life story recently and they expressed how thankful they were for the people that God had put around them and had directed them to learn from. These people’s positive influence had helped shape their story and the person they had become.
The definition of influence is: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something.
It can be as complex as forming alliances between countries so as to try and influence a country’s leadership to change their policies, or as simple as setting a positive example by being a person who is honest and truthful in everyday life.
It’s important to be aware and understand that our influence can also be without conscious intent. We exert influence simply by being who we are; by what we say and do. Regardless of whether we like it or not, or are aware of it, someone is always watching us. Whether that is our child, siblings, spouse, friend, work colleague, acquaintance or a stranger in the line behind us. What is happening in our inner world; in our thoughts, emotions and spirits will be transmitted via our words, expressions, and actions to influence others. The choice on our part is whether the influence we exert both consciously and subconsciously is for good or bad.
Both past and present history is full of examples of people who used their influence for both good and evil, and is a reminder to us that influence is powerful.
People the world over look for those to whom they can look up to, be mentored by, and who will inspire them to be better people. But in order to be someone who influences others for good, even if that is only in our own household, we’ve got to be real – to be authentic. We can’t say one thing, and do the other. It is those people who consistently live their lives with integrity and honesty that inspire and influence us the most – and we can all be that person.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a sections gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”
Following Jesus, His Word, and His example of how to live our lives is one of the easiest ways I know to develop our positive influence. When we follow Jesus, He empowers us to lead and influence others well. And as we grow in our relationship with Him we begin to consistently set an example to our family, friends, and the world around us that is worth emulating. When we live like that, we will soon discover that no matter what phase or position in life we are in, we will begin to exert influence simply by being who we are. And that, in a nutshell is how our influence can and will change the world for good.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
“Get the word out. Teach all these things…. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanour by love, by faith, by integrity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 Message)
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.“ (Ephesians 4:32)
Today, read the words of Jesus, and study out His guide to being a person of great influence in the Bible. Ask God to reveal to you if there are any areas of your life where you aren’t being authentic, and are not living with integrity and honesty. Consider do you really want to influence and set that type of example to those who are watching your life. Know that God will give you the strength to be the person you were made to be if you ask Him, and choose to follow His ways. He is the greatest mentor and life coach that we could ever ask for, and He doesn’t charge fees! Begin today and become a person of influence!
Prayer: Lord please help me to be a person that influences others for good. I want my life to be one that is lived with integrity, consistency, and honesty. Please help and shape me to be that person. In Jesus Name Amen.