The C3 theme for the month of November is “Transformation is Here.” Understanding the power of influence in our lives is critical to realizing a transformed life that can positively impact our culture.
When we think of influence, we usually think of those in a position of power, wealth or achievement of a certain status. However, each of us have been influenced by others, independent of their wealth or status. In addition, influence can be either positive or negative and can affect the direction our lives. An example may be a coach, teacher or friend that had a positive or negative effect on our lives. The Oxford dictionary defines influence as, “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
I recently read a book, “A Practical Guide to Culture,” by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle, which I highly recommend. The book has really helped me to see that we can shape culture or we can be shaped by culture. However, if we are not intentional, we may then be conforming to the pattern of this world without realizing how we are being shaped by culture.
Being Shaped by Culture
When we look at the times in which we live, it seems that change happens faster and faster with no end in sight. In the last 20 years the internet has accelerated the exchange of information and in the last 10 years the smartphone has continued to accelerate change due to the technology being integrated into our everyday lives through a device we carry with us. With rapid change everywhere, we can become responsive to culture instead of shaping culture. It is easy to blindly accept change and lower our critical thinking skills instead of positively influencing culture.
I see Christians at both ends of the spectrum, those that are just holding on trying to survive until Jesus returns and those who don’t look much different than the world and do not engage culture through a Biblical worldview. Jesus gave us the perfect example and He did not isolate from the world, but fully engaged with the culture. Our challenge becomes being in the world and not of the world. The only way we can accomplish this is by being a student of God’s Word. The Apostle Paul gave us the formula in Romans 12, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” As Christians we must make sure we see the world through a Biblical lens so we can positively shape our culture.
Positively Influencing Others
I recently finished the biography, “William Wilberforce – A Hero for Humanity,” by Kevin Belmonte, which I also highly recommend. William Wilberforce lived in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in England and made his life goal the abolition of slavery and the restoration of manners. He was a man with a strong faith and saw these two areas as his calling and passion. Through this pursuit and strong faith, he was able to positively influence England and the world. I was inspired to learn more about how one man could leave such a legacy and influence the world and thought about what Dwight L. Moody was told by a friend, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” The key to this statement is found in being wholly consecrated to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify our lives so that we may positively influence others.
One of the verses in the Bible that has inspired me throughout my journey with God has been Psalms 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” The part of the verse I have the most trouble with is the lean not on your own understanding and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me and make my paths straight. Many times, I apply my own understanding and miss the greater work, which is sometimes right in front of me.
Once we realize the true power of influence, each day we have the opportunity to affirm, encourage, and speak life into those God places in our path. These words of wisdom and acts of kindness have the power to change the world.
We appreciate being on this journey with you and I thank our Heavenly Father for the influence each of you have to positively impact individuals, families, cities, and ultimately nations.
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.