THERE are many ways to influence others as we go about our daily lives. But are we considering how the things we do and say lead others to God? How does our lives impact others? The apostle Paul wrote that:
For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your servants (slaves) for Jesus’ sake.
For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. (2 Cor. 4:5-7)
As time goes by, do you ever think about the influence you have on those around you? Do you wonder if you are making a difference in the lives of those you love or if you are accomplishing anything of lasting significance?
We all ponder these questions at one time or another. As people created in God’s image, we have within us a need to know that our lives are important and that what we do is truly meaningful—genuinely impactful to those we meet. We want to know that we are accepted, loved, and valued. We also desire the assurance that what we do will inspire the generations that will come after us.
Unfortunately, many of us may mistakenly measure our worth by how much we own, who seeks our counsel, the power we wield, the honors we have earned, or the number of people who know our names. However, God never intended for these earthly achievements to define us. Scripture teaches us that the Father takes a different view of what comprises a significant life. The apostle John assures us,
And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever. (1 John 2:17).
So let me ask you: Do you feel as if your life is meaningful and of value? Do you know for certain you are accepted and loved, and that you’re inspiring those around you? Or have you become discouraged, wondering if what you do really matters?
You can be certain you are leaving a lasting legacy when you obey God because the most powerful way you influence people is leading them closer to Jesus.
This always causes me to think of my mother. She had a very difficult life—one that may have seemed common and insignificant to others. She was left alone to raise me when my father died, did not have much in the way of material possessions, and only had a sixth-grade education. But the influence she had on my life is still bearing eternal fruit today. I will never forget her kneeling down with me beside my bed, praying with me, calling out my name to God, and teaching me to search Scripture. Her loving, faithful example has stayed with me throughout my life.
Like my mother, you can live a life of great significance. You can know that what you say and do will influence those around you. So how do you ensure that your words and actions are truly meaningful and genuinely impactful to those you meet?
First, you do so by modeling a steadfast desire to follow Jesus with a sincere faith in His will and ways. Your devotion to the Savior motivates those around you to seek Him. As they see you face difficult trials with His grace or step out with absolute confidence in His wisdom and provision, they will know that your relationship with Him is not in word only. They will see it is a real and energizing part of your life. They will witness how He loves, comforts, and strengthens you through every circumstance and provides for every need, and they will want to know Him as well (2 Cor. 4:5-7).
Second, you impact those you meet by demonstrating reverence for God’s Word. You do not have to be a scholar to inspire a love for the Bible in others—my mother certainly wasn’t. All you need is to show reverence for God’s Word above all other sources of information as you read, study, and explain it. The Holy Spirit will do the rest; Paul wrote:
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Heb. 4:12).
Third, you influence others by teaching them how to listen to and obey the Lord. When you spend time with the Father and study Scripture, you develop profound discernment in many areas because “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.” (Prov. 9:10). As your knowledge deepens, God will give you opportunities to share with others how they can listen to the Father and obey His commands for themselves.
Fourth, you ensure your interactions with others are meaningful and impactful by expressing a sincere love, a servant spirit, a forgiving heart, and a generous hand in every situation. When you demonstrate the character of Christ to others, your influence will be profound. By keeping your heart open, available, and ready to help others, they will see a difference in your life and will hopefully devote themselves to Christ. As Paul said,
To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and overscrupulous. I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ]. (1 Cor. 9:22).
So do you wonder if you are making a difference in the lives of those you love or if you are accomplishing anything of consequence? Are you influencing those around you, leaving a spiritual legacy that will last in eternity? Like my mother, Rebecca, you can. It doesn’t matter how much you own, who seeks your counsel, the power you wield, the honors you’ve earned, or the number of people who know your name. What matters is the love and obedience you have for God.
Therefore, follow Jesus in faith, show reverence for Scripture, demonstrate Christ’s character to everyone you meet, and obey the Father. Doing so helps you know for certain that you are impacting eternity because when you do, you will realize how valuable and significant your life truly is.