When we think about being a servant, it’s easy to think that in that role we are somehow made “less than” or in some way dehumanized. But it works just the other way around in God’s kingdom. God’s servants are given enormous power, far more than anyone would have if he or she were acting on their own. More (plus a great story about me that very few people know) on the video …
Did you know that we have the power to make the invisible God visible? Jesus gives us that power in Matthew chapter 5, in the Sermon on the Mount. Here He says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. … Therefore, let your light shine before others so they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Just as light makes hidden things visible, so our good deeds make God visible to people who can’t yet see Him with eyes of faith. It is our acts of kindness, not our arguments or our theological expertise that makes our God visible to our world. More on the video…
This is your first of seven transforming identities. Remember that your identity is what you are—NOT what you are trying to be, wish you were, hope to someday be. It is NOT a goal; it is a present tense reality. Your identity is transforming because when you know who you really are, it changes the way you experience life. (Two neat stories about that in the video.)
As the salt of the earth, you help to keep your world from spoiling—from going bad. You make your world a better place. Your presence is good news. Good people are glad to see you. When you walk in a room, things improve.
Why is that? I think it’s because God’s Spirit lives in you. You carry God’s presence with you wherever you go. That opens up a whole world of possibilities for you and for me. More on the video.
So … how are you bringing God’s presence into your world?
The Gift of Your Influence Your 6 Unique Qualifications Qualification #2: Your life challenges
On July 30, 1967 a 17-year-old girl dove into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Misjudging the depth, her head slammed into the bottom of the bay, her neck was broken, leaving her without the use of her arms and legs. She was trapped inside her own body, a prisoner of paralysis. She writes, “There I was lying in the hospital bed in the summer of 1967…. In my pain and despair, I had begged many of my friends to assist me in suicide. … begging my friends to slit my wrists, dump pills down my throat, anything to end my misery. …”
As it turns out, this young woman did not commit suicide. Instead, she went on to author 50 books, receive dozens of national and international awards, and become one of the most influential Christians of all time. I’m talking of course about Joni Eareckson Tada. Her life challenges became her platform, giving her instant credibility with millions of people worldwide.
The same could be said of Nick Vujicic (Voy Chech) who was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1982 with no arms or legs. We could say, “What a horrible tragedy!” But he isn’t saying that. He’s busy traveling the world, speaking to audiences, helping them find a way beyond the obstacles they face. On top of that, he’s the star of my favorite short movie, Butterfly Circus. Check it out here.
Sometimes our life challenges are the result of our own bad choices. But God can redeem even these life challenges and use them for good if we place them in His hands. A good example would be Charles Colson of Watergate fame. On June 21, 1974, he was sentenced to prison. But out of that sentence came a worldwide prison ministry called Prison Fellowship, 30 books, and numerous awards. As a result, thousands of prisoners and their families have found hope, help, and healing.
Whatever your life challenges are—poverty, addiction, abuse, loss, cancer, homelessness, disability, incarceration, or whatever—they can be part of your unique qualifications to make an eternal difference for good in the lives of others.
But you need to go to God and get the grace He has for you in the place of your life challenge. In our places of greatest pain, we can meet most meaningfully with God and receive the greatest healing.
1. Empathy. Joni Eareckson Tada barely noticed people with disabilities before her accident. Now her whole ministry is built around people with disabilities. When you’ve experienced pain, you can empathize with others who have experienced that same kind of pain.
2. Credibility. I could talk to people with disabilities about rising above their circumstances. But I start with zero credibility. However, I can talk to people who are going through bankruptcy because I went through bankruptcy. Your life challenges give you credibility with people who have gone through similar life circumstances.
3. Message. Your life challenges can help formulate your message. Here’s where God needs to be a big, big part of the equation. We gotta take our hurts to God for healing. We gotta put our setbacks in His hands. We gotta keep coming back to Him and listening to Him until we get what we need that’s gonna transform us. Without God changing us, we have nothing to offer our world. God must meet us in our place of need if we’re gonna take Jesus to the place of need in our world. Find your fulfillment in God (not in ministry) so you have something of value to offer those in need.
4. Platform. Your life challenges help define who you’re gonna reach. They give you access to a group of people. They give you instant understanding and almost instant rapport. As Christian Comedian Michael Jr. says, “Your setbacks become your set up.”
The Gift of Your Influence Your 6 Unique Qualifications Qualification #1: Your circles of influence
Your 6 Unique Qualifications make you the best person to change your world. This is why you are irreplaceable. No one else in the world or in the history of humanity is positioned to make the difference you are designed to make.
Your unique qualification #1: Your circles of influence
Anything you do—positive or negative—has a huge impact on the people closest to you—your family, close friends, coworkers. This is wonderful news because any improvement you make to your life will be felt by those closest to you.
You have established credibility with the people closest to you. But, even if you’ve blown your credibility in those close relationships, the steps you take to repair the damage will eventually turn that influence around for the good. If your life changes—genuinely changes—the people closest to you are going to notice first.
If you have no close relationships, then job #1 for you is building those relationships. Learn everything you can about building friendships, join a church small group, invest in the lives of other people.
If the people closest to you are toxic, then prudence, of course, dictates that you distance yourself from them. You don’t walk back into an abusive relationship. Get help. Get healing. Learn whatever life lessons need to be learned. Then move on, and develop new healthy relationships.
No one else is positioned exactly where you are with your circles of influence. I can’t take your place; nobody can.
5 Amazing Possibilities Possibility #5: Inspire or coach to great achievement
Who out there needs the knowledge and skills you possess?
Think about the skills you use everyday, the skills that make your life work—the list might include leadership, relationship building, driving, writing, child rearing, programming, cooking, researching, or whatever. How did you acquire those skills? Most likely, someone helped you. Someone taught you. Someone coached you.
Using the gift of your influence, you can inspire or coach others to great achievement.
The results can be, literally, life saving. For example, someone taught my wife to be a lifeguard. She was able to rescue a couple swimmers who were in danger. As a result, a people are alive today who might not have made it otherwise.
When you coach or teach others, you can improve the quality of their lives. If you teach someone how to cook, they can make their own delicious meals. Teach someone how to study the Bible, they can learn and grow in the Christian life. If you teach someone the right skills, you might give him or her the power to climb out of poverty.
Multiply your influence. When you teach others what you know, then your influence is multiplied through their lives. Think about the person who taught Billy Graham how to preach!
In my own case, I know about writing and publishing books, so I’m able to teach others how to do that. In addition, my wife and I have skill in transformational prayer ministry, so we’re able to teach others how to do this important ministry that heals hurts and transforms lives. If you’d like more information about this, you may contact me here.
5 Amazing Possibilities Possibility #4: Making connections
People out there need you to connect them with someone who can enrich their lives.
Part of wisely using the gift of your influence is realizing you can’t be all things to all people. In fact, often one of the best things you can do for someone is to introduce that person to someone else. Someone else may have the skills, the resources, the personality, the vision your friends need to flourish.
I love connecting people.
You never know what will happen when you put two people together. One of the connections I made resulted in a business more than tripling in size and creating a beautiful work environment where people with Christian values can flourish. Another connection I made helped to bring about the end of a fifty year civil war. (More on that on the video.)
Be generous with your connections. Look for opportunities to put people together who can advance God’s kingdom.