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Man looking out over a lake pondering his influence

Influence or Success

God is calling us to be people of greater influence. We are all called to be godly influencers, regardless of our calling or title. We cannot make disciples without influencing others! But we can easily lose our focus on influence and instead look towards success.

The world’s focus is on success, and this focus is on self.

Success means: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit, a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

One of the evidences of success is growth; you have more of something and its bigger and better. This was not Jesus’ focus nor His example to us. It says in John 6:66, “From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.”

Jesus had many disciples and when He began to share some challenging thoughts, many left Him. His many followers got whittled down to twelve. Of those twelve, one repeatedly cursed and denied knowing Him, another was characterised by doubt, others were known to argue with each other about their importance and who would get the best seat in heaven, one was stealing from the organisations finances and ended up betraying Jesus and committing suicide. At His point of greatest need, they all deserted Him. He was not, as man would define it, a person of great success!

However, God’s focus is on influence, and this focus is on others. Consider these scriptures:

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Matthew 20:28 “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Influence means: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself, the power to shape policy.

While success equals gain, influence equals change. Jesus came to influence people’s lives, not to be a successful person. Leadership and influence are about us adding to others by giving, while success is about us achieving for ourselves by getting.

Jesus saw the problem in people’s lives, and He added the solution!

Jesus saw death so He came to add life. Jesus saw worthlessness so He came to add value. Jesus saw fear so He came to add love. Jesus saw worry so He came to add peace. Jesus saw hopelessness so He came to add hope.

Jesus literally changed environments, cultures and people’s lives by influencing them – by adding to them by giving.

The woman caught in adultery was feeling condemned. Jesus saw this and added acceptance, and by doing so, removed condemnation. The Samaritan woman at the well was feeling unworthy to be loved because five men had left her. Jesus saw this and added love and honour, and by doing so, subtracted unworthiness. After denying Jesus three times, Peter felt disqualified and unworthy. Jesus saw this and added acceptance and a fresh commissioning.

Like Jesus, we are always adding to or removing things from people’s lives. So, what are you adding to people’s lives and what are you subtracting? There were times in difficult conversations with others that I added frustration, anger and careless words, and by doing so, subtracted honour, respect and value. The reason I did this was because I felt I was right; therefore I focused on achieving for myself by getting the upper hand. I wanted to be successful in this argument.

But there have also been times when I added gentleness, honour, patience and respect. When my focus was on adding to others and selfless giving, I removed anger, frustration and hurt. I wanted to be influential in this conversation; to love them like Jesus does.

God is calling us all to be people of greater influence. So, in your everyday life, when you see a lack in people’s lives, add the opposite. When you see criticism, add some encouragement. If you recognise hopelessness, add some hope. Look to be influential, rather than successful. When you go up – that’s success. But when you help others go up – that’s influence.

Nothing Is Impossible

Have you ever felt God was asking you to do something completely unreasonable? Something that was glorious and wonderful in its potential but utterly impossible in its execution? Why entice me Lord, if there just isn’t any possibility of it?

Well, just imagine being Joshua! The Jordan is a raging torrent of water that forbids the Israelites from going into the Promised Land. It was simply impossible to cross! And yet the promise could not be fulfilled without crossing it.

I want to assure you that God has an increased adventure of faith for each one of us. However, I also have the conviction that if we are to possess HIS ultimate intention, it will involve embracing that which is impossible. We will know what it is to stand at the edge of Jordan: we will sense the imminent revelation of a commission that will be not only extraordinary in its potential but utterly impossible in its execution.

Can you just imagine Joshua?

The first question must have been: “But Lord! Where is my rod?! I believe you can part the waters because I have seen you do it before. But I need the rod! Moses had a rod! The Miracle Power to part waters comes with the ROD anointing! Lord, where is my rod?”

But this time, there was no rod.

“Lord, how can you expect me to part the waters if you take away from me the very anointing that one needs to part waters?!”

  • How can I build without brick and mortar?
  • How can I achieve without finances?
  • How can I travel without a healing?
  • How can I produce a book if cannot write?
  • How can I succeed if the business had to close?
  • How can I start another campus if there is no venue?
  • How can I achieve more for your Kingdom if the very thing I have always used to achieve it with has now been taken from me?

I can just imagine the perplexity in Joshua’s mind: “My God, why have you taken the rod of Moses from me in the time when I desperately need it?!!!”

But the Lord’s method this time was to be so very different. This time no rod was necessary. This time His presence alone would part the waters. As the priests who carried the Ark of His Presence stepped into the waters, without the rod, without Joshua giving any miracle commands, just in simple obedience and faith, the waters parted!

God was taking them to an even greater level of trust and obedience. It wasn’t His neglect that removed the rod, it was part of His greater intention: He wanted them to know that they served “A God for whom NOTHING was impossible!”

Friends, as we put our hands up and volunteer for the supernatural adventure of life, what do we need to hear?

Matthew 19:26 says, But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

  • “With GOD” (Just him! His power, His presence, His person!)
  • “ALL things ARE possible!” (A totally unqualified statement!)

It is time to live a MIRACULOUS LIFE! Not just believe it intellectually or include it in our preaching! But to live it!

I invite you to join me in volunteering for a life of unqualified surrender, a life in which we say to Father; “Whatever You ask me to do, Lord, I will do it!” Nothing is impossible! Let the new adventure begin.