Everyone Has Influence
Today’s reading: Acts 9
Everything we consume has an influence in our lives – our spiritual lives, relational lives, emotional lives, and physical lives. From the music we listen to, to the TV shows we watch, to the people we spend time with, we are constantly taking in different thoughts, ideas, and habits.
If we’re in a highly competitive work environment, chances are, we are going to be more motivated to succeed professionally. If we are friends with someone who consistently makes poor choices, it’s likely that we will start to pick up on those habits. If we were raised to honor certain traditions or customs, we usually carry those with us into adulthood. While it’s easy to believe that we don’t have influence unless we have a specific number of social media followers, there is always evidence that we are influencing someone every single day just by going about our normal routines.
Jesus is a great example of someone who demonstrated how to maximize his influence with just the people in his close vicinity. Even though Jesus only had 12 close followers, he made sure to share who God really was to them in a way that compelled them to believe in him and zealously live that out for the rest of their lives. Jesus lived a normal human life in many ways, but he lived with such intentionality, love, and grace, that his presence was infectious. It drove the disciples and the people they reached to live a life that exemplified the love of God in ways that blessed people for thousands of years to come. When people encountered Jesus or his love through his followers, they were changed. That’s the kind of influence that each of us carries.
In Acts Chapter 9, we learn about Saul’s conversion. We read about his radical encounter with Jesus that turned him from someone who started out killing Christians into being an apostle himself and a writer of many parts of the New Testament as well as a martyr for the faith. It was so impactful that his name was eventually changed to Paul to mark the start of his new life in Christ. He didn’t keep that transformation to himself. Instead, he allowed this life change to impact every area of his life. Paul was deeply connected to the religious leaders of the day; he was a well known figure in society and was also a Roman citizen, which was a rarity among Jews. So, when his life was changed, he was able to share his story in a way that impacted all of these areas of influence, meaning that he was able to reach both the Jewish audience, as well as the Roman audience in his many writings that we still read today.
God can use what we think is a small level of influence to reach the nations or the people he wants us to reach. It just takes our stepping out in faith to simply share our stories. Just like Paul, we all have a story of who we were before we met Christ, what happened when we met him, and who we are now and into the future as we walk with him. Not all of the chapters are pretty or free of regret, but God is in it all. It can feel scary or overwhelming at first, especially if you’re introverted, but Scripture promises that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words at the right time.
“for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:12)
Think about your areas of influence:
- Where you work
- Your family
- Your friends
- Places you frequent regularly (the gym, the coffee shop, the grocery store etc.)
Begin to pray about opportunities to share your story. These places of influence are in our lives for a reason. Sharing your story is not about forcing people to listen to your testimony. Instead, it’s about engaging in conversations with people about real life. Opportunities will arise for you to share your story with someone. Paul probably didn’t think he would eventually minister to billions of people, but God used his story and his obedience to share it in mighty ways. He’s the same God who can do it with your story too.
What are some areas of your life where you have influence?
How can you bring God’s love into those areas of influence?
Is there anything holding you back from sharing your story?