Finding Christ Relevant to Every Area of Life

The Art of Influence

Why do you want to be a leader? What type of influence do you desire to exert? Influence that makes you look good? Influence that makes you feel good? Influence that benefits the lives of others? Or are you seeking to provide influence that is reflective of God’s guidance? On the other side, whose influence do you want to follow?

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:3-8 NET)

Check your motives. Motivation makes all the difference between being a healthy leader or an unhealthy leader, the difference between being a godly leader or an ungodly leader. No influence exerted on another from a self-centered orientation can be healthy or godly, for the intent is always exploitive. Leadership derived from the reservoir of self will only yield a pathological influence on others, ultimately depriving them of intimacy with God as they are depleted by the industry of a self-centered agenda.

Will you be honest enough to examine your heart on this matter? Unfortunately, those who do not challenge their soul’s tendency to usurp God’s will for leadership have a propensity to counterfeit all that is godly for the pursuit of their own purposes. The shackles of the sensual amusements of the world, the flesh, and the devil draw us through the lust of our hearts and the vanity of our lives and bind us in strongholds.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16 ESV)

Leadership that is filled with our plans is devoid of His plan. When we live independently from God we search for a substitute as our validating source. Without a desperate dependency on Him we establish a counterfeit connection with people, positions, and possessions in our pursuit for validation. We extract love from illicit relationships to prove that we are lovable, to establish our significance, and to enable us to feel secure. But in actuality we suffer loss because people, positions, and possessions are incapable of fulfilling us. Ultimately we are left unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and incomplete as the result of pursuing God substitutes. The delusional sense of satisfaction that stimulates and sedates eventually fades and we are left wanting more. In our vain attempts we explore other counterfeits that may promise temporary contentment, but only provide mutually satisfying exploitation and manipulation to empower our identity.

When we look to people, positions, and possessions to empower love, significance, and security in our lives, our counterfeit gods enable us to feel complete and contented for a time. But it is the compulsion of any of us to become reliant on whomever we reverence. And when what we reverence becomes the defining entity in our lives, our god, we live in service to what will ultimately disappoint.

Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26 NLT). It is a bewildering truth as well as paradoxically necessary, that others be hated that we may love Jesus with a pure and undivided heart, in order that we may have the ability to love, serve, and lead others with a pure and undivided loyalty to God.

The God place of our souls is designed for Jesus. Boundaries should be built around this sacred place to assure that none other but Christ resides there. It should be guarded by our fear of God with our appropriate view of God serving as the sentinel. The highest of all that is lofty should be ascribed to Jesus so that He attracts in full our hearts, minds, and souls, capturing our strength with the truth of His glory and virtue. Then Jesus becomes central because He is preeminent. We come to see Him in truth, as He actually is—Lord, Savior, lover of our souls, champion of our hearts. It is here that each one of us will be vested with the sacred trust given by the Spirit of God to lead in the path to intimacy with Christ and to lead others by the excellence of His good pleasure.

The New Testament: An Expanded Translation
by Kenneth Wuest presents The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 with its mandates from this perspective:

Now, the eleven disciples went on their way to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And having seen Him, they worshipped Him, prostrating themselves on the ground before Him. But some doubted. And Jesus, having come, spoke to them, saying, There was given to me all authority in heaven and upon earth. Having gone on your way therefore, teach all the nations, making them your pupils, baptizing them into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to be attending to carefully, holding firmly to, and observing all, whatever things I enjoined upon you. And behold, as for myself, with you I am all the days until the consummation of the age.

Insight Journal
What is your motive for wanting to serve and lead?
Do you yearn for personal significance or God’s glory?

(some excerpts included from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis)

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