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Monday, November 5, 2018

Under the Influence

“When leaders steward the small amount of influence they have in a God-honoring, life-giving way, it is no surprise when they are handed more influence and more opportunities to bring hope to others. Everyone has influence over someone. Great leadership involves stewarding or managing that influence over others to the best of our ability.” ~Tyler Reagin, The Life Giving Leader

That quote I found in preparing for a recent radio interview with Tyler Reagin. I’d recommend this book as one of the better releases of 2018. And it sets the stage for my third blog on the subject of influence.

Today, I want to work off of five points.

1) You have had, and you continue to have, a level of influence. This is true no matter your age, job situation, or place in life. Your influence could be positive…or negative.

Most of us are unaware of the influence we have on others. We assume that our words and actions don’t carry much weight in impacting others if we don’t hold a position of authority or high respect. Not true. Our self image is often shaped by the stated perceptions of others around us. Words carry power. How we treat others makes a difference. We either pay attention to people or we don’t. We can encourage and build up or tear down. We can be difference makers in helping others succeed or giving the impression they are of minimal value. Never underestimate the power you hold for influence.
2) If you have a spiritual faith, you only have that because of the influence of other believers, and the personal influence of God.
I find it’s easy for “religious” people to denigrate the atheist or agnostic person. It’s like the unbelieving soul doesn’t “get it” and they should wise up. Without knowing it, this develops a sense of superiority within the person of faith. Instead, there must be a humble appreciation that were it not for the influence of others and the Almighty, the faith we hold so dearly would not exist. We can take no credit. Likewise, sharing of faith in any form might well be the door that opens the soul of a life of renewal. Spiritual influence is a game changer.
3) The Bible has been given to you, along with the inner working of the Holy Spirit, to influence your beliefs and behavior related to a loving God.
According to Lifeway research, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible. That same research reveals 37% say it is helpful, 35% call it life-changing, and 52% say the Bible is a good source for morals. Yet even among people of faith, the Bible is often left unopened and unread. In America, it’s easy to find a Bible, and many people have multiple copies. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, if you give it a chance. 
4) Your legacy will be measured in large part by your commitment to the kind of influence you sought…and the influence you exercised.

There are a lot of articles, books, and seminars on legacy. For some, financial legacy is their objective. For others, having a monument in their name is what’s important. I would maintain the most lasting legacy is a faith legacy. Of the funerals I’ve attended, the ones that have greatest numbers of responders are due to lives that have been changed spiritually by the deceased. There may be no tributes in stone, but there are living monuments to a life well lived. 
5) Unless you learn to “guard your heart,” you will find yourself at peril for worldly influencers. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Percentage wise, there are very few monks in the world. The rest of us have to learn to walk and work amidst the greatest of temptations. There is no easy way out. The wisdom of Solomon must prevail if we are to navigate life in wholeness. And that wisdom tell us to watch what we take in to the soul lest the darkness prevail.

I’d like to return to this subject in the days ahead. It’s so important to our lives to realize we are under the influence. Make that…the right influence.

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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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