Tag Archives: opinion

Thoughts on Influence

The capacity to have an effect on, to shape change.

Take an inventory of the impact you may have made in the past year. Who has entered your life in the past nine months, three weeks, or 72 hours? How have you touched their life? Even if only for a moment, it may be all the time you have with them. In Acts 19 Paul so happened to find several believers. Not by chance, but by appointment that needed to be introduced to the Holy Spirit. Paul didn’t necessarily know they were believers when they met. How should I bring up what God might want to speak to that person, you might ask. I’m pretty sure Paul’s opening line wasn’t “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?” It more likely was “Hello, I’m Paul. Know good coffee shop?” He started a simple conversation that led to their discussion. Also, he didn’t wait to establish a history with them. Start simple conversations, they could lead to divine encounters. If you’re not investing into those in front of you, you’re not influencing anyone. No matter how persuasive you might be. Your friend from high school might simply reject your messages on Facebook. That’s okay, we’re not the ones to make them listen. Your influence might not reach all people. I wouldn’t get an aneurysm over those that aren’t influenced by you. There are two dangerous thoughts you might assume here. If they won’t listen to me, they won’t listen to anyone. The other is that God cannot use another person to influence them. Both thoughts are birthed from pride. Paul came against that pride in this passage, by simply moving his focus. Better to influence those you can, rather than be influenced by those you cannot. Your messages should not be based on who can I get to listen, but what truth am I supposed to be sharing? In today’s world, one might think that influence in measured by your following. Paul’s influence was not measured by a number of people that accepted him. True influence comes from the Lord. Influence is something that is given and cannot be earned. Your measure of influence is determined by the measure you share it. If your influence is measured by likes, then what you give is based on what people want rather than what they need. Influence comes when you have what people need. Someone needs what you have to offer. Don’t limit your influence by your amount of followers. The world measures influence by who you know and how many you know. But it’s not as simple as that. It turns out in this instance, in Acts 19, that their adversary knew who they knew. Walking in knowledge is very different than walking in authority. Believing in your knowledge does not hold the same power of believing in your authority. Jesus was tempted with influence and submitted to authority. Therefore influence should not be measured by volume, but by quality. You may have a million followers, yet are they being positively influenced. You will always be reflected by those that look up to you. What can you change in your life that will positively impact those influenced by you? First and foremost it should be the Holy Spirit that has the greatest influence in your life. In the Tree of Life Version, it says Paul resolved in the Spirit. This means that he had several options set before him, and he was able in partnership with the Holy Spirit to determine which one was from the Lord. Allowing that thought to take precedence and determine the next steps. When we become familiar with His voice we can learn how to direct our thought patterns. It also says that Paul gave direction to his assistants. They submitted to a Spirit-led leader in their life. We also need spirit filled leaders in our lives to help give us direction. Not so our life can be dictated by them, but to learn how we to can submit ourselves to the Spirit. Those we allow to influence us is who we become like. Now not all of our influences will be a leader directly over us. But they should still have a thriving relationship with the Spirit. There are a few instances of influence being used at the end of Acts 19. That of Artemis in a negative way, that which convinced Paul to keep his distance, and that of the mayor to the people. Each case affected the well-being of others. Influence is important because it can guide people in the right direction. Unfortunately, it can easily be used negatively and cause harm to those under it. Therefore we should always be aware of who is listening. When you speak you’re releasing either life or death. No matter how much you think you influence what you have to say matters. Invest in how you think, because how you think affects what you say, and what you say impacts what’s around you. You’re an influencer whether you believe it or not. I urge you to use it well no matter how many you influence.

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Let There Be Light

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5 NLT)

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (John 1:4 NLT)

Let there be light, why do we run from that? Light is good, yet we still want to hide. We want everyone to see our great accomplishment and keep our struggles in the dark. We want to show how great we are and our downfalls a secret. When we do this we minimize the greatness of God, we limit what Grace can cover. For Grace cannot cover what is not exposed. We want to walk with our credibility of being highly involved in the church. But we are in the dark at home! Your involvement at the church will matter very little when you face judgment, without exposure to Grace it is all excrement. To be truly exposed to Grace is to begin the process of change. You will begin to walk with integrity, and those around you will notice. When you are exposed to the sun the tone of you skin changes, the same is true with exposure to the Light (warning christian pun) or the Son. You will begin to have a spiritual tan, for lack of a better term. Lets face it, generally speaking people want the tan skin. The same is true in our lives, an exposed person with a changed tone more attractive than a hidden faker. We weren’t created to be covered by anything other than Grace. We were created to be naked and in communion with God. When people see someone who is flawed, but walking confidence of who they are, that is when they attracted to what you have. Christians will say, “I don’t want to be seen, but God thru me.” Well, that does no good! When you look at an invisible person you see nothing, not the God that’s in them. Rather than God doing such a work in me that I disappear, I want a complete exposure and covering of Grace. So when people look at me, they see the burqa of Grace that I’m covered in before they see me.

Here is where we must be careful. We cannot simply hide our sin under Grace. Grace is not meant to hide behind, but be exposed too. In Grace you are no longer who you used to be. The sinner that you’ve exposed is dead. Grace is not a simple covering, it is a renewal. A resurrection of a new man. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:10-14 ESV) Anytime come out from Grace we are trying to resurrect a dead man. Which we don’t have the power to do, so we are simply putting puppet stings on a corpse. We are going back into the grave, into darkness. Let your old man die and let the power of Grace resurrect your new man. Many of us fall into temptation because we won’t let the old die. We have exited darkness, and the enemy cannot dwell in the light. As far as he is concerned, when we go into the light we are dead. There is no longer power given the enemy. When we give into the flesh, we are poking our head into darkness and letting the enemy know we’re still alive to sin. Get into the light, be exposed. To live a life of purity we have to be transparent. Exposing ourselves to those we love and trust, those that know the worst about you have your best at heart. We must emit light to those that are broken. When we live a life of transparency it is clear the message we are sending, and easier for those that love us to correct us when we are wrong. Transparency makes it easier to remove obscurities that are keeping us from purity. When we are pure we can clearly express Christ. Whether we live pure or impure lives is what we pass on to our families. Not only to our children, but to those we lead. The battles we leave un-fought are left for those that come after us.

 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:18-21 NLT)

When Moses came down from being in the presence of God, the people of Israel could not handle what shone from his face. They had him put a veil over his face to diffuse the glory shinning from it. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:13-18 NLT) If we expose ourselves to the light we will know the glory of God. The evidence of our exposure should be reflected in our countenance. When Moses was exposed to the glory of God he had to wear a veil. Christ has lifted that veil for us, so people will know that we have been exposed. God wants us to show His glory. So often we try to use the veil to hide our sin, but God wants that veil to be lifted so we can be exposed to the light. The very veil we use to hide our sin is the veil that keeps us from the light. There is only darkness behind this veil. When we stay behind the veil, the supposed glory that we are experiencing is useless. A light kept to yourself will only shine on you and your flaws. When that same light shines on you and then from you is when the true glory of God is revealed. Letting the world see, “Yes I’m flawed. But I still shine!”

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)

The Word says that one day we will all be exposed to the light and all our work will be tested.(1 Cor. 3:12) Exposure without covering will cause a burn, exposure with covering will bring healing. Whatever is not covered by Grace is going to be burned. We must not misunderstand the intense power of the light. If not for Grace we would all be burned up by it, because of Grace our exposure brings great healing and freedom. All our dull parts and made shiny, so that when His light shine on us His glory is reflected that much more. What if others see the real me, my sin and scars? Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot extinguish it. (John 1:5 NLT) So long as we let Christ shine on our darkness the accusations of others cannot extinguish us. Let the His light expose the opinions of others and let them be burned away. Let His truth be what shines brightest in your eyes.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. (Mark 4:22 NLT)

Ps. 139:11-12
I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light to become night-but even in the darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

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Deflating My Opinion

Dictionary definition of Opinion: A view or judgement that is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

I try not to develop opinions about people. When I do they’re usually wrong. I either elevate the person to something they’re not or develop a negative view of them. That view makes me want to punch them in the throat. This is where I have to humble myself, resist the urge to praise or punch them and have an honest conversation with the person. Setting my views of them aside and allowing them to reveal themselves.

For the people I elevate, I find they are way more awesome than I originally thought. They typically don’t want to be viewed in that way. Truly awesome human beings walk in humility, and have no need to puff themselves up with the opinions of others. Or I’ll find the person I’ve elevated doesn’t have the integrity to hold up the character they’ve chosen to show the rest of us. In these cases, those people do need to be lovingly punched in the throat. Most of the time it’s Jesus that needs to do the throat punching, not myself.

Now for the people I develop a negative opinion of. These are my favorite situations, because I’m the one that gets punched in the throat. This happens to me in two ways. The person I don’t know that I am pleasantly proven wrong about. Usually this a someone I’ve heard negative things about that I haven’t encountered myself. When I do have a conversation with that person my view is quickly changed. I then go lovingly punch the person who told me their negative opinion in the throat. Then there are people in high levels of leadership, that the enemy wants me to believe lies about. The enemy would love for us to think we have it more figured out than those ahead of us. But if we submit ourselves we’ll see the lies proven wrong. A great leader is willing to admit they need Grace just as much as the next guy. Negative opinions about leaders are almost always developed from gossip. That gossip is usually stems from jealousy of the platform that person has. We believe the gossip because of our own jealousy. If we want the platform another person has then we have to have the integrity and humility they have.

How do we fight our opinions? Let yourself be surprised. Allow people to be who they are. When we develop opinions about people we confine them. When we confine people we lose the joy of being able to see them walk out there calling. Possibly even preventing them from walking in their calling completely. In creating an opinion of someone we are creating a box they have to fit in. When they don’t fit in that box we get frustrated with them. Usually that frustration is expressed to them whether we know it or not. We have to understand the power our opinion can have over someone’s life. They can take your frustration and try to appease it. They are then becoming your opinion of them, rather than who God sees them as. Now this doesn’t mean don’t speak to another human ever again. See past your opinion to who that person is. Give people the freedom to be themselves. Stick to that facts, especially if you’re lovingly throat punching. Speak the truth in love, their negative behavior is because of a lie, opinion, they believe about themselves.

In some instances we get a glimpse of how awesome a person can be, then they don’t view themselves that way. They put themselves in the box of their own opinion. Take this as an opportunity to tell them what you see in them, loving throat punch. Speak the identity God has for them over their life. Some people simply don’t know how awesome they are. If we get people to realized the incredible identity God has for them, we will have people walking in power.

How about when someone has a negative opinion of you? This is where it get really fun! Situations like these are our greatest opportunity to come before God and ask what He thinks of us. Because of the Grace we have received, we don’t have to receive unloving throat punches. Understand why they have that view of you. It is rooted in some pain in their life that they haven’t dealt with. I have hammers in the shop that have all kinds of dings and marks on them, but they still do what they’re designed to do with just as much power. When we know who we are, we can allow the dings and marks to be there without conforming to their opinion. Our power doesn’t come from the opinions of others but the one who designed and formed us. We are designed to walk in power. We can only walk in that power if we are getting our identity from the designer.

What about when people have positive opinions about you? Humbly say thank you.

Abram believed an opinion he thought Pharaoh might have of him. So he told Sarai to pretend to be his sister. This brought plagues on Egypt and destroyed the possibility of a relationship between the two men. Joseph’s brothers acted on an opinion they had of him. They sold him into slavery and brought shame on themselves. Joseph never lost the power of the identity God gave him, even in slavery. Gideon defeated the Midianites with the identity God gave him. Jesus was able to go the cross because of the identity he has. He didn’t conform to the opinion the enemy had of Him. The cross was won when Jesus said no to satan’s temptation, when He was offered the world if He would bow the enemy’s high opinion of himself.

Genesis 12:10-20 and 37:18-36; Judges 6 and 7; Matthew 4:8-11

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