4 Steps to Influential Relationships
"Perhaps you have noticed that people influence others everyday. Even introverts will influence approximately 10,000 people in an average lifetime." John Maxwell, Developing The Leader Within You
Today we’re going to explore how to channel the influence we have for the glory of God. We are searching to make the most of the opportunity we have to shine in the midst of a warped and twisted generation and love people in a way that may draw them to look to Jesus.
We are hugely influenced by the connections we form with people at every stage of our life – and this is because influence travels primarily through relationships. Therefore, here at more precious we want to encourage you to be influential in your relationships. To be girls that truly love people. To be girls who can bring truth to a lost generation and shine as lights in the world.
So, how can we work at our relationships so that they glorify God? What does an influential relationship of this kind look like?
To glorify God in any area of our life, we should be aiming to be more like Jesus. In terms of living this out in our friendships and relationships, this means loving selflessly and unconditionally. This means being humble enough toput the other person’s needs first and love them even if they don’t treat us with the same respect. It means being willing to disadvantage yourself for their benefit and working to be a blessing to them at all times.
Our relationships should be different enough to create influence. A way in which we can be distinctive in our relationships is in the way we are free to love people. With our hope resting in God, we are freed up to love people with all our hearts! This creates personalities and attitudes to life that attract people, as we are ready to engage with them and value them, secure in our own identity.
If you think of somebody you know that really inspires and influences you, you would probably say that they make you feel valued and respected when they talk to you. You would not be made aware of any insecurities of their own, because they are so ready to invest time in you. This is the freedom that comes from knowing you are a daughter of Christ! Pray that one day we might be able to be like this – open and ready to welcome connection and embrace distinctive relationships.
With this security, we are opening ourselves up to substantial relationships. Next week, Hannie will be looking at how the Bible is full of these real, gritty, painful, radical, raw and transformative relationships. Do we dare to emulate these in our own lives?
I’ve been inspired recently by the image of Jesus’ heart being wide open, ready to love people and accept them into his life. I want to be someone that has a heart wide open, ready to invest as much time, energy and passion as it takes to make the relationships I have glorifying to God.
4. Bright and constant
I was interested to come across an article written by Caitlin Moran for the Times a few months ago called Letter To My Daughter. Here is a piece of advice that she gives to her daughter:
"Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux."
If we resolve to shine constantly and steadily for Jesus, people will see the hope that he gives us and will want to move towards him. He is the only one that can satisfy our anxieties and allow us to make sense of life more clearly. If you believe this and live out your faith in him in your life, ultimately this will infiltrate your conversations and influence your relationships with people.
Being 'bright and constant' is something to aim for as we try to be the light in the world - but ultimately, Jesus is the only constant. We will not always be very good at maintaining Christ-like relationships, and we will fail to love people in the way that our Father loves us.
We need to call on God to give us the strength to put people before ourselves and to love them intentionally and unconditionally. This is what will point our friends to Jesus, not anything we can do on our own. Therefore, we can be honest about our weaknesses and bold about proclaiming our Father's grace. When people really recognise the promise of everlasting hope that we have, they will be drawn to Jesus and hearts will be changed.