Summary: Part 1 in the series "Victory in Jesus." This messages show you how to influence those around you for Christ.
BECOMING A PERSON OF INFLUENCE
Victory In Jesus – Part 1
September 19, 2004
This morning we will be starting a new series based on the book of Galatians. Paul wrote to the Galatians to show them how they can experience victory in their lives. How they can have victory over sin. This victory is made possible only because Jesus Christ died on the cross. This is truly victory in Jesus.
This morning I want to talk to you about becoming a person of influence. What is influence? John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.” Influence is leading people. W.M. Taylor said, “Influence is the exhalation of character.” So influence means to lead people according to your character.
Everyone has character. Some have bad character. Some have good character. Some people are honest while others are deceitful. Some are trustworthy while others are unreliable. Some have a great work ethic while others are slackers. No matter what you character is like you all have character. And your character will influence those around you for good or for evil. The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33, NIV). In other words if you hang around with people who are a bad influence you will begin to adopt their character. I believe that the opposite is also true – that good company influence good character. We tend to rub off on others.
What the world today is desperately in need of are people of godly character who will influence those around them to live holy lives. If we in the church fail to do this, then who will? J. Oswald Sanders wrote: “If those who hold influence over others fail to lead toward the spiritual uplands, then surely the path to the lowlands will be well worn. People travel together; no one lives detached and alone.” (Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders, p. 19)
It is essential that we as Christians stop complaining about the way things are and start changing the way things are. It will not happen through an election no matter how qualified the candidate. It will not happen through a court decision no matter how righteous the ruling. It will not happen through legislation no matter how good the cause. Change in our culture will happen as we influence those around us for Christ.
You say that you are not a leader – that you are not in a position of influence. Not true! We all have influence on others. Paul J. Meyer said, “Everyone leaves a legacy, whether you have children or not.” How do you leave a legacy? Through influencing those who come behind you whether they be your children or your nieces and nephews or your neighbors or coworkers or friends.
It is important to understand the difference between controlling someone and influencing someone. Too many people make the mistake of trying to control people rather than seeking to influence them. What do I mean?
Parents need to influence their children to live right because they can’t always be there to control their kids. If you are physically present with them, you can control them. If you are in the room you can control what they watch on TV or what websites they surf on the Internet. If you are in the store with them you can control what kinds of magazines they look at. If you are with them in the car you can control how fast they drive and what kind of music they are listening to.
But what happens when you aren’t there with them? You are no longer in a position to control them. If you have not made a godly influence on them, they will make the wrong choices when you are no longer there to make them make the right choices. Influence is much more important and much more powerful than control. It is also much more difficult to do.
This principle works much the same way with employers. You can make sure that your employees are giving 100% when you are there to personally supervise them. But what happens when you are out of the office or away from the store?
Teachers can make sure that students study hard and don’t cheat when they are in the classroom. Students will work when the teacher is looking over their shoulder. But what happens when you step out of the classroom for a minute? Influence is much more important and much more powerful than control.
A few years ago a NFL coach was fired because his team wasn’t winning and this was primarily because the defense wasn’t playing well. They weren’t tackling well. Two ESPN analysts were discussing the firing. One said, “Why fire the coach. That is not right. Do the owners expect him to run out on the field and make the tackles for his players?” To which the other analyst responded, “No, but a good coach knows how to instill in his players a passion for mastering the fundamentals.” Essentially what that analyst was talking about was influence. If a coach doesn’t have the ability to influence his team to do their best, then he isn’t doing his job.