TEXT: Matthew 5:13-16 MSG
What is influence?
It is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself (John 9:5). Sometimes a person who influences another does it innocently, but most times they are using influence to benefit themselves. An example of a personal benefit or advantage would be the use of influence to achieve political gains.
Influence began in the Garden of Eden by God, before Satan came into the picture and altered it. In Gen 12, God asked Abraham to leave his family deliberately so He could be his only influence. Influence can be either positive or negative. Influence is possible when the person to be influenced is either ignorant and wants to give meaning to his life or willfully willing to be influenced or the person admits inferiority or defers to superiority. Remember that leadership is influence. However, we cannot even begin to talk of influence without knowing who we are.
How do we resolve the issues of identity of both the influencer and the influenced?
You need to discover yourself. Until your identity is resolved, you can’t influence but only be influenced. You can’t even envision or become anything useful to God and your generation. You only survive.
As Christians, we were influenced by the Gospel when we realized we didn’t have an identity outside of God. People who strongly believed in an identity created for them by themselves are reluctant to change e.g atheists. Real influence starts with relationship… Truth is you’re influential whether you’re aware or not. Influence is as a result of the fact that you do something better than the rest of us… Yes, something, no matter how small it is.
Won’t you rather be deliberate? You can cook, sing, teach, talk etc. Do you have something within you that you can offer? You have influence! Remember Neman and his maid (2 kings 5), Saul and his armour bearer (1 Samuel 31). In Acts 11:26, Jesus’ influence was seen in a group of guys and they called them “Christ-like”. His influence started from His team until it became global and eternal. When and after you’ve been influenced, it eventually makes you a witness.
In John 1:4, we see that His life is the light of men. Light gives capacity for influence. Your life becomes the light of men and it gives direction. Darkness is not supposed to override our light. There is life in a plant, animal and human. There is superiority in the quality of lives. There is life that God breathed into Adam but there is another life we received at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2).
You can have the life of God (Zoe) and still not be influential. Jesus said if your light turns into darkness (Matthew 6:22-23). Remember Judas Iscariot. Hosea 4:6 says, if people know their rights, privileges and dominion and entitlement in Christ, they live extraordinary lives and won’t be destroyed. Check out Revelations 5:10 and Romans 5:17. It’s not Jesus reigning through us but we that shall “reign by Christ”. Influence is directly connected to reigning in life.