You can be the iron that sharpens iron (see Proverbs 27:17). You can be the good company that displaces the bad (see I Corinthians 15:33). You can be the person whose wisdom is contagious (see Proverbs 13:20). You can be the good leaven that leavens the whole loaf (see Galatians 5:7-9). You have influence. Are you utilizing the influence that God has granted you? Or are you timid, cautious or too unimposing to move ahead? How do you move forward and have an impact for the Kingdom?
On any given day we are exposed to thousands of ads; online, on billboards, on television, on t-shirts, on buses and trucks, and in our mailboxes. These are countless attempts to persuade us to give our money to these companies in exchange for their product or service. Those same ads are seeking to persuade and influence the people around us. How does a person compete? How does a person have even a hint of influence when people are barged and harassed, seduced, pulled and lulled toward the things of this world? With love.
Each of us has people placed next to us for the express purpose of receiving our love. We have the potential to influence those around us, for good or bad. And sadly, some of us will abdicate our opportunity and will instead be influenced, for good or for bad. But if we can arise above “business as usual,” and make concerted efforts, then we can make a tremendous difference. If we are proactive, we can be the influencer, rather than being the one influenced.
How does a person have even a hint of influence when people are barged and harassed, seduced, pulled and lulled toward the things of this world? With love.
A friend recently shared that a newer co-worker was getting on everybody’s nerves. She felt challenged to approach him and talk to him. She began to realize that he had not been properly trained for his tasks. She spent most of her day trying to get him up to speed. She realized how unfairly he had been treated. She stepped up to bat and certainly left an impression on him. It was the Christian that helped him when other co-workers criticized him. Can we follow her lead? Can we truly love those around us and be light for them? My friend put Titus 2:7-8 into practice;
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
Do we spend our days looking for such opportunities? From our family, to our church and workplace, to our community and faraway friends, to the world, God has placed us exactly where He wants us to be in order to do the work He has prepared for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” What has He prepared for you to do?
You may be running into the same person at the gym. Coincidence? Or assignment? Maybe your “good work” is right in front of your nose, packaged differently than you would have imagined.
You may have younger siblings. Did you know that they look to you for approval and affirmation? You may have elderly neighbors. They may appreciate your attention. You may be running into the same person at the gym. Coincidence? Or assignment? Maybe your “good work” is right in front of your nose, packaged differently than you would have imagined. God is like that. He is unpredictable and creative and interesting. He keeps us guessing and leading into Him for guidance. He expects us to have our ears perked and to be ready for action.
Influence is the result of readiness. 1 Peter 3:15-16 explains this;
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
I Corinthians 13:13 explains that it all boils down to faith, hope and love; “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” We should not be operating on the defensive regarding our faith in a lost world. We should be positioned offensively. We have been given works to do. Our job is to do them, with enthusiasm and determination and with love. God bless you are you move forward in today’s unique assignment!