One of the things that can make a person feel forgotten is having nobody that cares what you say. If that describes you, I can identify. I’m going to share with you today my story about how God brought me influence, and how He wants to give you influence too.
It has taken me a long time to grow as a Christian. I first made Jesus the Boss of my life in 2001. I had a whole truckload of garbage in my heart and soul and spirit, and it took me quite awhile to get rid of it. (And I know God is still working on me, getting rid of unholy things and filling me with holy things by His Spirit every day.)
But even while I was still going through my soulish stuff, I began to serve in my local church in an area I love. And after I fell in love with our people, I wanted to help; for God to somehow use me. I wanted to help us become all that God’s Word said we could become.
But in order to effect change, you need influence.
And I had none.
So I began to pray. I asked God for influence, and I almost didn’t even notice Him answering me. But He did. He gave me influence, and looking back, I can see exactly how He did it.
You know how I got that influence?
God gave me influence in the funniest way. He gave me influence by giving me a desire to serve.
When I began serving this particular group at my church, I was doing it for fun. But all of a sudden, God downloaded into me this sudden, overwhelming desire just to be useful … to humble myself as much as possible and be a SERVANT.
So I began to serve the people in my group. I did menial tasks. I picked up trash. I carried books. I brought food to other members of my group who were hungry. I prayed for people when they cried.
And over time, God has given me some measure of influence. He has done tremendous things in my life and is using me to do things I’m called to do. But that influence came because I prayed for influence, while doing whatever I could, whenever I could. I had no ulterior motive in serving, other than a sudden download from God of a genuine desire to be as low of a servant as I could be to these people.
Looking back, I discovered by accident that influence comes through two things:
1. Influence comes from having deep roots in God in the secret place.
God would never have seen fit to give me influence if I had not been seeking Him diligently. I had already developed a habit of spending time alone with God in prayer and the Word every single morning.
At the time I began to serve the group I mentioned above, I was going through HELL in my personal life. But I was submitting to God and asking Him every day to keep me alive, change me, and make me like Him. So He was changing me. He was making me humble before Himself, and He was forming the character of Christ in me.
Without the character of Christ, you will never have godly influence. You may have worldly influence, but you’ll never have godly influence because God can’t trust you with His people unless you’re being conformed a little more every day to the image of Christ.
Do you want influence? The first step is getting alone with God, humbling yourself before Him, and becoming a person of the Word and of prayer.
2. Influence comes from serving others.
As I began to serve people, with no ulterior motive in mind other than to be useful, the funniest thing happened. People began to realize I cared about them, and somehow–even though I never connected service with influence in my mind at that time–I gained influence.
Why? Because people truly don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
You want influence with people? Start to serve them:
- Pray for them. Fall in love with them in prayer.
- Listen to them. A listening ear is a healing balm to even the most wounded of souls.
- Believe in them. Believe in God’s work in people’s lives. Believe in God’s call on their lives. Believe that the mercy of God is stronger than any sin that may beset.
- Pour into them. Help people with material needs as you may be able. Help them with their spiritual needs by mentoring them. Reach out.
- Love them. Love them. Love them. Love them, the way 1 Corinthians 13 says to love. God, have mercy and teach us to love Your people.
We as Christians are called to have influence.
We are to conform to the image of Christ, and Christ was promised the nations as His inheritance:
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Psalm 2:8).
It’s all about demonstrating the glory of God on the earth:
Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you” (Isaiah 55:5).
And then there’s that little thing called the Great Commission …
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
… which is impossible to fulfill without influence. (Have you ever tried to make a disciple of somebody over whom you have no influence? I have, and all I can say is … yeah. Good luck.)
So because it’s God’s will for you to have influence, He will give it to you if you ask. And you can’t feel forgotten when you see God using you to bring change.
You may have some preliminary work to do before you start to see your influence growing.
- If you’re not drawing closer to God in the Word and in prayer every day, you’ll need to start.
- If you’re not serving others faithfully, you’ll need to start serving.
- If you don’t love people, He’ll need to give you His heart for people.
But as you do these things, if you pray for influence, He will give it to you. And if you’re already doing these things, then the prep work is already laid in your life. So you may see your influence grow quickly after you begin to pray.
At the end of the day, the promise of God will always hold true. He has promised that if you humble yourself under His mighty hand, in due time He will lift you up.
God has moved powerfully in my life to give me influence for good. I’m believing Him to continue growing that influence as I seek Him and serve faithfully. I want more influence because I want to reach more people for Jesus Christ.
Are you ready to pray for influence too?
Pray this with me:
Heavenly Father, I come before You in Jesus’ name. Father, I know You have a great, big plan for my life. And I want everything You have for me.
Father, I know that, in order to fulfill Your commission and reach people for Jesus in the way You’ve called me to reach them, I need influence. So Father, I ask You in Jesus’ name to please give me that influence.
I know that You may need to make some changes in my life in order to trust me with influence, Lord. But I’m all Yours. Please do with me as You will. Give me a passion for Your Word and for prayer. Make me a man/woman of the Word, prayer, and of fasting. God, let me seek You in secret with everything I’ve got, and I know You will reward me in the open.
Father, I also know that I have to love and serve the people You want me to reach for Jesus. So Father, please give me Your heart for people. Help me to love people the way You love them. Help me to see them the way You see them, and help me to serve them the way Jesus served.
Father, I only want to glorify You and not myself. So, Lord, I ask You to protect me from any worldly influence that is not from You. Please give me only the amount of influence that YOU know I can handle: no more and no less. Please only give me the level of influence that I can steward in a godly way, Lord, so that I’ll never marr Your name or Your reputation. Let my behavior always be a credit to You and bring glory to Your name everywhere I go.
Lord, please teach me how to make disciples. Teach me how to use the influence You give. Teach me how to reach people for Jesus, and how to fully fulfill Your call on my life.
And Lord, please keep me humble as I go. Make me more of a servant than I have ever been before. Help me to serve with a humble heart and genuine love. And I’ll give You all the glory. Thank You, Father. Thank You for hearing my prayer, and thank You in advance for using me to change the world around me. It’s all about You, Jesus, and I love You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
You can be the one that God uses to change the world in your generation.
It takes influence. But God will give you that influence as you seek Him first, serve with a humble heart, and love others.
Are you ready to ask God for holy influence? Does this message encourage your heart? If so, please leave a comment below. I want to hear what you think!
Image courtesy of Sten Dueland on Flickr via Creative Commons license. Image has been cropped and graphics added.