Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. It is the power to shape policy or ensure favorable treatment from someone, especially through status, contacts, or wealth. It derives from the Latin influentia “to flow,” and also describes ‘imperceptible or indirect action exerted to cause changes.’
Each year, Time Magazine reveals it’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. They are separated into five categories: Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders and Icons. There are great names like Pope Francis, Robert Redford, and Beyonce, who have impacted the lives and culture of so many on a public stage. Still, there are many others who wield just as much influence incognito: engineer Tony Fadell – the father of the ipod, Ertharin Cousin from the South Side of Chicago, who is responsible for bringing food to more than 100 million people around the world as the head of the U.N.’s World Food Programme, or Robert & Kristin Lopez, who wrote “Let it Go,“the theme song to the hit movie Frozen.
Jesus Christ is easily the most influential person in history. His life and teachings have shaped the laws of governments, and set the standard for the character of individuals. He is singularly loved, worshiped, and respected – even in other religious circles. Our calendar has been set with A.D. & B.C. signifying His birth as the most significant day in history. The book about Him is the best-selling book of all time. His powerful yet humble mission to leave His throne in Heaven and come to earth, live spotlessly and die on a cross to save billions of undeserving sinners, showed God’s love to the world He created. It is the greatest show of love and grace the world has or will ever know. (Phil 2) None of us have actually seen or spoken with this figure of historical record face to face… yet His Words wield a power that influences our mores, values and decisions to this day. We yield ourselves to His revealed purpose and attempt to model ourselves after His Divine personality. John Maxwell simply states, “Leadership is Influence.”
You may be a person of note in the City, State, Nation or World, or you may be a behind the scenes influencer whose conversation, wisdom and insights impact the decisions of a more public figure. You may be raising, teaching, or mentoring a child or adult who will become a significant voice. As Christ followers, the salt and light of the world, we hold much more influence than we realize. Let’s be prayerful to ensure that the direction of that influence is Godly and impactful.