Everyone has influence. We all influence someone. And God expects us to be good stewards of that influence for His kingdom's sake.
He didn't give us our influence for selfish purposes on our part, but so that we might share the good news about him—so that we could be kingdom builders. But what exactly is a "kingdom builder?" It's someone who has ...
- A great purpose to live for. And for the Christian, we have the greatest purpose of all—to rescue people for eternity through Jesus. Kingdom builders demonstrate a great commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
- Great principles to live by. A kingdom builder is one who has a different source from which to draw wisdom—God's eternal truth revealed in the Bible.
- Great power to live on. A kingdom builder operates in a different power that the rest of the world—the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who offers guidance every step of the way.
- Great people to live with. A kingdom builder gathers with God's people and joins up with a small group for encouragement and accountability.
There are at least a dozen principles we learn from Scripture about how to use our influence as a kingdom builder. I'm going to share six this week and six next week. Here are the first six:
1. Everybody has influence. What you do with the influence you currently have will determine whether or not your influence grows more. And you have far more influence than you realize. You influence people everyday through your smile, conversation, email, voting, etc. In order to understand what influence is, it's helpful to understand what influence is NOT.
- Influence is not a position.
- Influence is not authority.
- Influence is not fame.
- Influence is not wealth.
You can have any one of those and not actually have influence.
2. God expects me to use the influence he's given to me. Influence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. It takes courage. You'll have to get out of your comfort zone, speak up when you're intimidated and serve others when you don't feel like it. Jesus challenged us to let our light shine and to be like salt that preserves and flavors the world around us. In other words, you have to decide to put your influence to use.
3. My influence is for the benefit of others. When God gives you influence, it isn't for the purpose of making you rich or famous, especially for your own pleasure. He gives you influence because He uses people to help other people. It's about others. And the blessings of your influence are not for you to consume but for you to share.
4. If I'm not influencing them, they're influencing me. This is one of those truths naive leaders miss. Not only do we all influence others, but we're all influenced by others as well. And when we're unaware of the power that others have to influence us, we'll allow our hearts to compromise. Just as Lot failed to influence the cities of the plain in Genesis, we too can become attached to the values of the culture we're hoping to change.
5. The purpose of influence is to speak up for those that have no influence. Psalm 72 is a prayer for leaders, and it says, "Please stand up for the poor, help the children of the needy, come down hard on the cruel tyrants." In other words, God, please help leaders to use their influence on behalf of those who have little voice or platform of their own—the poor, the fatherless, the diseased and isolated, the slave and the oppressed.
6. I will answer to God for how I used my influence. I am eternally accountable for how I used the influence God gave me in this life. What I do with my influence in the temporary world matters forever, and the Bible is filled with proof of this. The question God will ask every human being in His judgment is, "What did you do with my Son, Jesus?" And the question He will ask everyone who is a member of His family is, "What did you do with the time and the resources and the influence I gave you?"
I want to influence this world in light of the next. That's our calling as kingdom builders!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.