A life of isolation and indifference to the needs of others is sure to leave little behind.
MATTHEW 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
KEY STATEMENT: The more stable and constant our walk, the greater and more lasting is our influence.
For good or evil, we all influence the lives of others. In fact, our behavior not only negatively or positively affects those with whom we work, live, or play, but can have continuing sway upon future generations. What is said about Abel can also be ascribed to all: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4).
We don’t have to be famous in order to be influential. Each of us, regardless of position or visibility, can significantly influence others. A Sunday school teacher in Boston walked into a shoe store one day on another errand when he led Dwight L. Moody to faith in Christ. Moody became one of American’s most noted evangelists. Fathers and mothers influence their children who, in turn, instill the same values in their offspring.
HOW TO BE A GODLY INFLUENCE
Most of us will admit the kind of influence we would desire to have is a godly one-touching others with the genuineness of a Christ-controlled life. That, of course, is possible only as we cultivate a life of devotion and obedience to Christ-seeking His will, studying His Word, and submitting to the reign of the Holy Spirit.
When we do, we can influence others for Christ’s sake by implementing the following principles:
Influence begins with giving ourselves. As ambassadors for Christ, we must be involved in relationships with those we have been called to reach. Though Jesus withdrew to the desert on occasions, He could usually be found teaching and ministering to large crowds and was constantly surrounded by His disciples.
A life that is oriented to pleasing self influences very few. We must be willing to take the risk of making contact with our co- workers and our neighbors. Barnabas took the initiative and influenced Paul. Paul reached out to Timothy. Timothy trained others. A life of isolation and indifference to the needs of others is sure to leave little behind. The salt must come out of the saltshaker if it is to season the world with godliness.
The heartbeat of influence is compassion. Someone has rightly said that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The people that most influence us are usually the people who care for us. Jesus didn’t just spend time with the disciples. He loved them unconditionally.
The foundation for influence is conviction. The more strongly held our beliefs are, the more likely we will share them. There must be compelling conviction for us to rise above our own petty motives of self-gratification. Paul endured so many physical and emotional sufferings to bring the gospel to the Gentiles because he was solidly convinced that good news was “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
The linchpin for an influential life is consistency. Faithfulness in the daily rounds of life is the key to a life of lasting influence. In this way our homes, jobs, and leisure times are all significant opportunities to be spiritual change agents for others. People tend to look at our lives as a whole. They take the long view. The more stable and consistent our walk, the greater and more lasting is our influence.