Monday, July 23, 2012

The Truth about Influence - What Secular Leadership Won't Tell You

Read most books on leadership and there will be comments about 'gaining influence', 'becoming influential' or comments such as, 'use your influence for good'. Depending on the author, their outlook on life, and the philosophy that underpins their life, the surrounding comments will differ.

Some secular teachers may pronounce the importance of gaining influence, merely by manipulating your environment. Famous author Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People seemingly goes down that track. Leadership influence comes from acting in such as to gain influence, is the premise of the book. On the surface that sounds great, but what is the motive behind the change of character and is it merely to gain influence? Is it wrong to simply act a certain way to win over people, rather than just act that way because it is 'right' to act that way? Do we smile, be nice to others and respect others just because we are waving some leadership flag and hoping people to follow, or is this a natural characteristic of our life?

A few years back, some words popped into my mind (I would say, from God) that gave me clarity on this whole leadership topic of influence. The words were...

Your Influence precedes you.

I began to think about these words from 2 Chronicles 20:14-17:

2Ch 20:14-17  Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'" 
The battle is not ours, but God's. Put in today's language, 'Our quest to make any sort of positive difference today, is not determined so much by us, but God.'

See, here's the thing. The Godly understand that influence, is not from them, or even because of them, but rather from God.

Your influence precedes you. God goes before you.

If you seek to transform your circles of influence; if you seek to grow in spiritual leadership and allow the gospel of Jesus to save lives, then you must understand that influence comes from God. Spiritual leadership and the influence that is wrapped up within it, is from God.

We can work hard, send emails, do some marketing, and all of that, but Godly leadership only comes from God.

Let me finish with a quick anecdote. I Blog regularly, and at times, the readership is low, and sometimes it is high. Do you know when it is most high? When the Blog that I write has been stirred up from the Lord, and seems to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon it. For example, back in January 2012, I wrote about God moving in our church, and the amazing impact God was having on our church. The post went viral, and people shared it around by the hundreds. That's because God is better at being influential than I ever will be.

Remember, no matter what secular leadership tell you. You influence precedes you.


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