While you were growing up, many of you were probably told by your parents and teachers to be a good influence on the people around you. I heard it a lot. But honestly, the words went in one ear and out the other because I didn’t really understand what they meant. The phrase was often used as a reprimand or a threat, as if the saying of it was going to jerk the slack out of me and I’d become a model citizen of the human race. Whatever (shrug). And then what did I do? Grew up and repeated the process with my own kids.
This morning, I heard this quote, “Those who carry the greatest hope have the greatest influence.” Suddenly, the words hope and influence expanded in my brain. Pause with me for a moment and look at the definitions.
Hope: to believe, expect, or trust with reasonable confidence.
Influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others:
I put the two together and got my own definition: When you believe, expect, and trust with reasonable confidence, you have the capacity or power to be a compelling force on the actions, behavior, and opinions of others.
Read that again.
Now look at these two verses of scripture.
Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it! Colossians 1:27 (TPT)
But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith. 1 Peter 3:15 (TPT)
You have Christ, the Anointed One, embedded within you. That’s pretty incredible all by itself, right? But there is also hope. Lots of it. And you know what comes with hope (see my definition above)? You influence others to experience and act on the same. Jesus is the hope, and that hope influences the people around you.
Live your life to carry hope. In your countenance. In your behavior. In the words you speak. And when people ask what it is about you that’s different, you have the opportunity to influence – to explain the reason for the hope. That reason lives in you and around you and through you.
His name is Jesus Christ.