I had a conversation with a gentleman recently, he shared with me how a friend had impacted his life. He told me how he had been encouraged to step out into new areas, and attempt things that he may never have considered on his own. As he spoke, I thought about people in my life who had encouraged and inspired me. Some, I believe were intentional, others were just doing life. But, either way, there is something profoundly powerful about the impact one person can have on another.
I believe that too often we fail to see the strengths we possess, or the influence we have on others. The truth is, we are constantly touching the lives of those around us. The question is; how are we touching?
The Bible tells us, very clearly, that we are to influence those around us. In Matthew 5:16 we read “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”. This not only tells us to influence others, but, how and for what purpose.
The how: We influence with every observable aspect of our person, from our attitudes to our actions. The term “good works”, is referring to good in a morally observable capacity. Not just what we intend, but how it is observed and expressed. God is saying; make your presence known on behalf of what is right!
The why: For the glory or amplification of God and His goodness. Our lives, in the form of our behavior, are to express God’s will in the earth.
How can we align our lives more effectively with this truth?
Here are some questions we should ask ourselves:
1. Are my intentions consist with my observable behavior? I asked a close friend recently for their opinion concerning this area of my life. The response wasn’t easy to hear; however, it was a valuable starting point for new growth. Sometimes, we need to ask a trusted friend for their honest review.
2. Am I intentional about influencing others in a way that amplifies God? This is one of those areas that need constant attention. You have most likely heard the saying, “fail to plan and you have planned to fail.” It applies here. I was teaching on the unity of relationships a while back, and it became clear to me that God expects us to be intentional about how we approach them. There is something He wants to accomplish in the lives of everyone you know. His desire is that you work with Him, to accomplish His goals, in their lives. Think about the relationships you have, consider the circumstances of each, and ask God how you can be more available for His purpose.
3. Am I prepared to influence others in a positive way? Contrary to popular belief, you do have a part to play in your preparation. Paul instructed his young Protégé Timothy; (2Timothy 2:15) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”. You cannot live, what you have not learned. People are looking for reliable help. We must possess accurate information. In almost every conversation we have, and every circumstance we encounter, God’s wisdom, has an application, or an answer. In this crazy world, full of so many crazy opinions, God’s truth on your lips is like a refreshing rain (or maybe, like burning fire, but you get the point).