Influence: What Will You Do with Yours?

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By Martin Schlomer

Everyone has influence! How are you using yours? Think about it! When you spend time socializing, eating dinner, playing games, engaging in serious discussions, do people walk away encouraged or discouraged? Built up or criticized? Drawn toward Jesus or empowered to indulge in their fleshly desires? Are you unsure? Then be courageous and ask them. What do you want them to say?

Your influence—through your words and example—will be a catalyst for life or for death, flourishing or mediocrity, pressing toward making a positive difference or maintaining the status quo. In Proverbs 18:21, Solomon writes, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Here are two important observations: influence can be positive or negative, and we have the power to choose which one it will be. May we choose well, because we will either enjoy the blessings or bear the consequences of this choice. So, I ask you again: When you spend time with people, do people walk away inspired, indifferent, or worse?

I spent a few hours this week with Mark Phillips. I love this man! I always walk away inspired. I hear his heart, listen to his words, watch him engage others as he seeks to live a life shaped by the gospel, and I walk away renewed with hope. I could add more names of those whose influence gives me courage and clarity. Who would be on your list? More importantly, who would put you on their list? What will be your legacy?

Everyone has influence! How will you invest yours today? This week? This month? This lifetime? The time has come to decide! My choice has been shaped by Paul in Colossians 1:28-29, which I have personalized here. “I will proclaim Jesus, admonishing every person and teaching every person with all wisdom, so that I may present every person (including you) mature in Christ. For this purpose—to the best of my ability—also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” What is shaping your choice?

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