the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
Will anyone you encounter do anything as a result of your influence? The indisputable answer is YES!
Whether it’s in small unnoticeable ways or life altering ways, your actions, behaviors, choices, words, or lack of all these do influence others. If you don’t believe me, just test my theory. Offer someone a hug and watch the reaction. Offer someone a compliment and take note of whether that affirmation gets a response. Offer to pray WITH someone in a difficult situation and pay careful attention to how it makes them feel. Your choice to engage in positive actions, behavior, choices, and words make a difference every day, even if you don’t notice it.
Last week a clergy friend of mine said, “So, I guess this is a time when each of us must assess where we have influence and begin using our influence to improve our little part of the world.” My response to him was that
one of three things is happening;
1) we are already using our influence to make the world a better place, 2) we are doing nothing to influence anyone thereby leaving the world and those around us to suffer, or 3) we are being influenced in the worst ways that diminish our values, that cause those around us to question whether we have a twisted understanding of Jesus, and making folks wonder why we are hurting others intentionally and/or unintentionally.
Example: will there be a single testimony at your funeral about how you followed Jesus’ words and demonstrated in word and deed LOVE OF YOUR ENEMIES?
Bishop Lewis has offered the Virginia Conference a Christ worthy vision:
“To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.”
This a Christ worthy vision I am excited about. I am excited about all the ways Bishop Lewis will invite and encourage us to put it into practice. Friends, narrow thinking, open hostility, overt racism, evil words and actions, mean behaviors, spiritual immaturity, denial of sin, and other behaviors that divide us have the worst hold on our society that I’ve ever seen! If followers of Christ don’t check ourselves (first) and start a movement of spiritual holiness, we will become totally useless in this battle Paul described as “of powers and principalities.” My friend is absolutely right, it’s time we Christians spend a lot more time using our CHRISTIAN influence to transform our U.S. culture rather than be influenced by secular culture.