Our lives must be influential. We would be judged or measured based on the kind of influence we had or made on people whiles on earth.
Influence is the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior and opinions of others. As Christians, we are called by God to be people of influence in very aspect of our lives.
“You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people”.
From the passage of Scripture, Jesus made 3 profound statements concerning us.
1. ‘Good for nothing’. – People will consider us as worthless/ useless.
2. ‘Thrown out’- we will be excluded in everything that is important.
3. Trampled underfoot: This implies that people will scorn or make mockery of us.
It is refreshing to know that when a person, church or a group loses its influence, they are considered worthless. This effect could happen to anybody irrespective of his/ her status or position in society. Influence is a two-way stream. We influence people and they also influence us. As a matter of fact, everything we do or say has influence on us. The environment also has tremendous influence on us.
The fact that one activity can make great impact on our lives does not mean they have absolute control over our lives. We can make frantic effort to control or change them. We have to prepare adequately in order to control the negative influences.
Sometimes, a big effect starts with little things. We must realize that whatever we start/ begin as little, can make great /huge impact in the near future.
For example, just helping and encouraging somebody to learn how to read and write could go a long way to help and determine the destiny of that person. It could be beneficial to his/her family, society and the nation at large. In effect, it is very critical to access whatever we do in order to make one influential.
3 IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
1. KNOWLEDGE: What we know; education, expertise, insight. What we know contributes great impact on our lives. Knowledge is a great source of influence.
2. RELATIONSHIP: Whom you know/ who knows you. - Family, friends, alliances, position in life etc. The kind of relationship we have with people and vice versa are very important. Some relationships are already established before we met people whiles others are developed over a period of time.
3. REPUTATION: How you are known: - character, accomplishments.
NOTE: These are broad areas that we derive our influence from. By themselves, they don’t influence on us. It actually depends on how we apply or use them.
5 LEVELS OF INFLUENCES
1. POSITION/ POWER: A person who has a positional authority/ power over another person. It’s the basic level of influence.
2. PERMISSION: It’s based on the good relationship we have with people who willingly allows us to influence their lives.
3. PRODUCTION: Based on competence and results. People follow us because of what we’ve achieved or accomplished. We gain influence as we become more competent in our field of operation.
4. PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT: Those we’ve mentored/ coached will eventually follow us because we are a source of encouragement to them.
5. RESPECT: It is a vital point in the area of influence. When we use position, we can’t tell the true intentions of people. It’s only when they respect us that they will show us their true intentions. Respect is earned over a long period of time. It’s not attained over night or instantly. Respect could be based on position, permission, production and people development.
Influence may be earned (worked for), borrowed (you can use it on someone’s behalf based on the relationship you have with that person) or be feigned (based on false pretence). Self- promotion is not based on substance. It’s based on false pretence. Our good works must speak for us.
7 SPHERES / AREAS OF INFLUENCE:
1. Family: Identity- This is an area we are influenced the most. Our deepest influence comes from our family. Most of our predicaments originate from our family. We influence it and it also influences us.
2. Religion: beliefs- our religious identity creates our beliefs. Most of our religious beliefs are not always positive. They have some negative influences. It determines how we function in life.
3. Education: - knowledge: It can be an asset or a liability based on how it is applied.
4. Government: It determines how secure we are as a nation. It’s the entity that gives us a sense of security or belonging for us to determine whether we can do business or fulfill our potential or our destiny.
5. Business: This also determines how much wealth is available within an area or nation. That is, whether we have a poverty mentality or a wealth mentality.
6. Media: Current information (print & electronic). It is a sensitive area. They can make or unmake us. They have great influence on our lives. Their selective nature can have an ample effect on our lives. Nations have been destroyed because of the media.
7. Pleasure: Arts and entertainment: What we call pleasure can destroy our destiny. We have to be careful what we termed entertainment.
As Christians, we must influence our generation positively. We must target these areas and endeavour to attain them.
Our influence in life will determine the following:
• Essence: Who you really are.
• Impact: How you affected others.
• Contribution: What you added to people’s lives.
• Legacy: What you left behind.
• Significance: The importance of your life.
• We must be concerned about how the world sees us.
• We must deliberately determine what we want to achieve or accomplish in life.
• Although God wants to work in our lives, we must selectively choose decisions carefully.
• We must not live our lives haphazardly. It must be imagined, intentional and influential.
• We must design the outcome of our destiny and determine the kind of legacy we want to leave behind.