Many people desire to have a lot more influence than they currently have. Unfortunately, most people do not understand how this can take place. Some believers have a mystical approach and think that just because a spiritual leader prays over them or gives them a prophetic word, they will somehow be elevated or have a higher position in the kingdom.
That being said, although I believe in the power of prayer and prophecy, there is much more to growing in influence than those two items. The following are 10 ways you can raise your level of influence:
- Remain faithful to your calling.
One of the most important things the apostle Paul gave Timothy was a criterion on whom to pick for leadership development (2 Tim. 2:2). The first thing he mentioned was to pick "faithful men."
A faithful person is a committed, loyal person who can be relied upon to execute their duties no matter how difficult the circumstances. There are some people who always make excuses for their failure to produce, but faithful people don't make excuses; they just show up and work until the task is accomplished.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes more common for people to be "flakey" than "faithful"—which is why it is often not the most gifted or talented person in the room who has the most influence, it is the most faithful! Since faithfulness is an uncommon virtue, if you are a good steward and trustworthy with things others give to you to accomplish, that will usually result in a promotion from both God and men.
- Remain focused on your mission.
So many people get distracted because they are listening to the wrong voices in their life. When God asked Adam, who told him he was naked, He was referring to Adam listening to another voice in his life instead of listening to the main voice in his life (Gen. 3:11). Truly, we will all hear many voices in our life, and we have to discern which of the voices are distractions or divine.
We also have to discipline our mind and heart to remain focused on always keeping the main thing the main thing. This may sound like an overused cliché; however, I have seen numerous people cap their influence because they either said yes to too many opportunities (sometimes less is more) or they put more passion and time into a hobby rather than their primary assignment. Focusing on your primary assignment will surely increase the level of your influence.
- Be willing to be present and participate in strategic events
I get invited to so many great meetings that if I said yes to all of them, I would not have time to accomplish my purpose. However, there are some strategic gatherings (that I am not organizing or leading) that are vital for me to participate in. I have learned a long time ago that if I merely "show up" to certain key events (that I believe line up with my mission and with the leading of the Lord), God will orchestrate divine connections and networking opportunities essential to position me to the next level of leadership He has assigned for me.
- Listen to and obey the voice of God within you.
Of course, it can never be overstated how important it is to be sensitive to the leading of the Lord. If a person has a robust prayer life and walks in daily communion with the Lord, God can trust them with all the assignments they were supposed to steward. If all a person has is an understanding of their mission and strategic planning but does not seek the face of the Lord, they will greatly limit and or miss the primary calling and influence God has for them. Truly, God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
- Have close associates who give you honest advice.
It is necessary for every person of influence to have a strong, trusted, inner circle that helps them discern the will of God for their life and mission. Having honest, loyal people around you that have your back and speak into your life is another way to increase the level of your influence in the world.
- Have mentors and friends who open doors for you.
Every person needs "door openers.". I have had several mentors and key friends whom God has used mightily to open up strategic doors for me. This includes doors opening regarding my books and writing, as well as divine connections and helping me find other mentors who have helped me get to the next level.
Nobody can get to where they are supposed to go without the help of others. Pray for God to provide these kinds of people in your life so that you can go to the next level of influence in your life.
- Carve out time for reading.
One of the things I have found great leaders have in common is that they all seem to be avid readers. We need to read strategically in ways that correspond to our calling and mission if we are going to grow and increase our capacity and influence. Those who desire to increase their level of influence need to be intentional about reading genres of books that relate to getting them from A to Z, instead of wasting their time reading fiction and novels that only entertain instead of empowering and equipping.
- Manage your emotions.
The more influence you have, the more responsibility you will have, and the more responsibility you have, the more organizational and people challenges you will be faced with. That being said, if we desire to increase the capacity of our influence, we need to manage our emotions by continually walking in love, forgiveness and extending grace to others without compromising ethics and standards of excellence.
The more influence you have, the more people you will deal with, and the more people you deal with, the more problems you will have, because every person brings challenges to the table. (The more people challenges you have, the more opportunity you will have to become bitter instead of better.)
Managing our emotions with the grace and love of Christ is essential if we want to increase our leadership level.
- Don't quit when it gets difficult.
Every person functioning in any level of leadership will have difficult times of testing they will have to endure if they are going to be promoted by God and have a greater level of influence.
Those who continue to press through in spite of enormous challenges are the ones God will grant more influence in His kingdom. Of course, our example is the Lord Jesus Christ, who endured enormous emotional agony in the garden of Gethsemane and unfathomable pain while hanging on the cross. He understood that this was all part of the plan of God for Him to fulfill His assignment of reconciling the world back to Himself (see Heb. 12:1-3).
- Let God elevate you.
Finally, the Bible teaches us that God resists the proud and exalts the humble (1 Pet. 5:5). I have seen people who have attempted to promote themselves whom God has brought low, and I have seen those not seeking anything but to serve and glorify God elevated with more influence because He was able to trust them.
At the end of the day, if you want to increase your influence, do what God tells you to do, stay in your lane, focus on your assignment, be faithful and God will increase your influence in ways that will astonish you. If you want to limit your influence, the best thing to do is to manipulate people and promote yourself. If you do, you will hit a huge wall and greatly limit your potential for influence.
May the Lord be the one who elevates us and grants us the influence He has deemed we need to bring Him the most glory.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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