Posted on : Sunday August 1, 2010

By Bob Simpson, BCMD Associate Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, Editor of BaptistLIFE

Bob Simpson

Lately I’ve thought a lot about the legacy I am currently crafting that will some day be left for others to judge. It is my sincere hope that when they read it, one thing will be obvious… I tried to live my life in such a way as to be a positive influence on any and all that came my way. Have I been perfect at it? No, of course not. But I firmly believe that the preponderance of the evidence will show that I succeeded at it more times than I failed.

Influence… what exactly is it? Some think of it as manipulation. The dictionary defines it as “the capacity or power of persons to be a compelling force on or produce changes in the actions, behavior, opinions of others.” One way to look at it is to think of it as a tool that can be used for either good or bad. I can use a hammer to build something in my home, which would be a good use of a hammer. Or I could use the same hammer to vandalize all the car windows on my street…a bad use of a hammer.

Influence, with the help of the Holy Spirit’s power, can be life changing in nature. I mention the work of the Holy Spirit because, as Jesus said in John 15:5, “without Me, you can do nothing.” To me, the ultimate influence is what the hand does within the glove. A glove is useless without the influence of the guiding hand.

The presence of a person makes a difference. It influences. That’s why Paul wrote to that very conflicted church in Corinth and reminded them, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple (sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit who is in you…?”

While I think we believe this theologically, I’m not sure how practically we believe it. It becomes very practical when we fully grasp that He goes everywhere we go. He sees everything we see. He hears everything we hear. He’s a part of everything we do. Now that’s influence!

Jesus calls each of us to be influencers. He wants us to influence everything in our lives in a positive way. He wants us to fulfill the Great Commission in our lifetime by leveraging all the influence we have with everyone we come in contact with. He even promised His presence as we do it.

Wow! We can learn so much from Him, the master influencer. Maybe that’s why people He encountered often dropped everything and followed Him immediately.