Originally Posted by Mike Young August 2006
I love to study leadership and leaders. Many of you are familiar with John Maxwell’s book, Twenty-one Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. One of the laws he addresses is The Law of Influence, stating that the true measure of leadership is influence – Nothing more, Nothing less. When I read that statement, I was blown away by its truth and simplicity.
Leadership is influence.
Rarely does someone gain influence with others without earning it. I recently read the story of David slaying Goliath. Do you think that anyone would have paid any attention to David prior to this demonstration of courage, composure, and reliance on God? He certainly had admirable qualities, but he wasn’t a person of influence. David wasn’t a talker, he was a doer. He saw a need and an opportunity and took action. His courageous action generated influence that allowed him to lead.
Many men have influence over others because of their authority positions, their status in the community or their ability to talk their way through situations. While that type of influence is worth something, it’s not as valuable as the influence a man might earn by living a righteous and Godly life, or by serving others with a selfless attitude. I think we often fail to realize the power of our influence in the lives of others. There are many environments in which a man should lead and influence those around him, rather than being influenced by others.
Here are some examples.
Dad, I hope you understand the power of your influence at home. Many of us have been on both ends of the “Because I’m your father and I said so!” sort of influence. That’s not long-lasting influence. It’s intimidation. I’m talking about the type of influence that Proverbs 17:6 hints at. (The glory of children are their fathers.) I want to be a father who understands the significant respect and admiration that children naturally have for their fathers and use it to appropriately shape my children.
Recently, while walking by the boys’ room, I noticed that five-year-old Benjamin’s bed had been poorly and/or hastily made. Instead of yelling, I called him upstairs and helped him make it better. I showed him some strategies that will yield better results. I hugged him and told him I love him. We admired our work and left the room laughing. I don’t always get it right, but that time I did.
Guys, many of you experience the same difficulties with living out your faith in the workplace that I have. You are constantly surrounded by course talk and inappropriate jokes. Maybe you are encouraged to take unethical shortcuts that cheat others or produce inferior work. Peer pressure affects adults also.
The funny thing is that, as soon as the other guys know you are working hard at being a Christian in that difficult environment, they start watching you and tempting you. They want you to slip up and fall from grace. They are just like the guys who watch NASCAR races only for the wrecks. They want to see and celebrate the carnage. Guys, refuse to be influenced by them, instead, influence them for Christ. It may not be easy but if you stay close to Christ you will have the strength to avoid those collisions.
Men, there are many other areas where you should use your influence, to lead others toward a walk with Christ and Godly living. Consider your influence in your neighborhood, church or community.
You may think that you are insignificant. It’s simply not true. I’ll encourage you as Paul did Timothy in I Timothy 4:12, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Youth may not be your obstacle. Yours may be different, but regardless of what it is, don’t let it keep you from influencing others for Christ.