Tuesday, January 6, 2015

You Have More Influence Than You Think

By Allen White

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:15-16

For some of us, these verses have been with us from the time we learned the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” One pastor tells the story of a child visiting their children’s ministry who had never been in church before. This child’s version of the song went “hide it under a bush, Hell no!” What he lacked in understand, he more than made up for in zeal.

An unbeliever’s attraction to the Gospel isn’t centered on a well-crafted explanation of the message. If that were the case, then Christian television, radio, stadium events, tent meetings, websites and tweets would have already saved everyone by now. Words are only words until their made flesh (John 1:14).

The unbeliever with the best chance of accepting Christ is the unbeliever who is surrounded by believers. The presence of believers who understand what they have in Jesus Christ is significant. Prayers are answered. The discouraged are encouraged. The lost are found.

You may be saying at this point, “Okay, I’m saved. I go to church every morning. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian. But, I’m not seeing these things happen.” If that’s the case, then my guess is that you’re too busy to allow these things to happen.
For God to use you to influence another, you have to be available. Most of us simply aren’t available.

When we tell God that we are available, then we have to pay attention to what’s going on around us. When we see someone who needs help, then we actually need the time to help them. Now, you may be thinking, “Well, I don’t really have time for that.” If you’re too busy to do God’s will, then you’re too busy.

If we want God to use us, then we have to create margin in our lives to actually be used. We have to say “no” to some of the things in our lives that don’t really satisfy us anyway. We have to give others our time and attention. Our presence in the lives of others is far more significant than most of us realize.

John Maxwell says that “Leadership is influence.” Leadership is not merely a title or a trait. As Rick Warren says, “If you think you’re a leader, and you don’t have any followers, you’re only taking a walk.” Who do you have influence with?

Who will try a new restaurant because you recommended it? Who will avoid a bad movie based on your review? Who will change their view of things, either positively or negatively, based on your attitude? You have more influence than you think.

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