Photo by E. Tuttle (Unsplash)
The walls in our master bedroom hold frames filled with the faces of our family. Pictures of our parents, siblings, children, and grands, even our fur baby’s photo grace these walls. Each image reminds us of the losses, the blessings of today, and the potential for our family’s future.
My parents’ picture hangs at the entrance of the room. I walk by the photo multiple times each day. My dad’s mischievous smile nourishes my heart and mom’s eyes – well, they remind me of the scent of freshly brewed coffee, the warmth of her voice, and the touch of her hand. I have to admit, looking at that picture, makes me sad. My mother passed when I was in my late 20s and my dad followed her a few years later. I wish they had been around long enough to understand the woman I’ve become. I wish they could have known how much they shaped my life.
They were not perfect people but they lived lives that taught me how to become a better human. They demonstrated kindness and empathy, sought justice for those that couldn’t fight for themselves, and they loved Jesus. They showed me how to navigate circumstances that should have buried our family, yet we maintained balance as we faced each storm.
I want to be that type of person for those around me. As imperfect as I am, I would like to encourage people to be more than they believe they can be. I want to give them a peek at Jesus’ love as He works in my life. Just as my parents shaped my heart, I would love to influence others.
Today, our world is filled with influencers. They flood our social media feeds, the evening news, and the pulpits of our churches. Each has an agenda for making an impression on the lives they touch. Some, like my parents, want to offer positive, truth-filled encouragement. Yet, others offer deception and seek only self-promotion and personal glory. I encourage caution as you navigate people’s words. What we listen to, allow to penetrate our hearts, can shape our souls. Their persuasions can move us in a direction that no longer points us to Jesus, the truth, or kindness but rather encourages us to run in the opposite direction.
What kind of impression do you want to make on the lives you touch? What would family, friends, co-workers, the widow down the street, or the homeless man on the corner say about how you encouraged them? What memory do you want to leave with those that have crossed your path? I encourage you to cautiously decide what type of influencer Jesus would have you become and then consider the instruction the book of Proverbs offers.
… If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success… Have two goals: wisdom—that is, knowing and doing right—and common sense. Don’t let them slip away,for they fill you with living energy and bring you honor and respect. They keep you safe from defeat and disaster and from stumbling off the trail.
Proverbs 3:4-6 and 21-23 (The Living Bible)
If we want to positively influence others, we must first develop a relationship of complete trust with God. This foundation will align our hearts with His and allow us to wisely encourage others. We won’t have to depend on our emotions or biased interpretations, we can share the truth of God’s word that leads to freedom.
Once we are confident and committed to trusting God, we can then place Him as our priority, look to Him to direct our conversations, inform our counsel, and help us to demonstrate his love. This may require reassessing current priorities, perhaps replacing personal desires with God’s aspirations. But the result is a life focused on the Father, ready to reflect His image to a world desperately looking for someone to follow.
It boils down to this, if we want to have a positive impact on those around us, we must trust God and put Him first. Once we’ve developed this foundation in our lives, then and only then should we reach out to influence others.
Be blessed His BeLoved,
If you’re interested in reading more from Proverbs 3, click HERE.