How to Use Your God- given Influence to be a Kingdom Builder by Rick Warren
Everyone has influence. We all influence someone. And God expects us to be good stewards of that influence for His kingdom’s sake. He didn’t give us our influence for selfish purposes on our part, but so that we might share the good news about him – so that we could be Kingdom builders.
What exactly is a “kingdom builder?” It’s someone who has…
- A great purpose to live for. And for the Christian, we have the greatest purpose of all – to rescue people for eternity through Jesus. Kingdom builders demonstrate a great commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
- Great principles to live by. A Kingdom builder is one who has a different source from which to draw wisdom – God’s eternal truth revealed in the Bible.
- Great power to live on. A Kingdom builder operates in a different power that the rest of the world – the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who offers guidance every step of the way.
- Great people to live with. A Kingdom builder gathers with God’s people and joins up with a small group for encouragement and accountability.
There are at least a dozen principles we learn from Scripture about how to use our influence as a Kingdom builder. I’m going to share six this week and six next week. First of all,
1. Everybody has influence.
What you do with the influence you currently have will determine whether or not your influence grows more. And you have far more influence than you realize. You influence people everyday through your smile, conversation, email, voting, etc. In order to understand what influence is, it’s helpful to understand what influence is NOT.
- Influence is not a position.
- Influence is not authority.
- Influence is not fame.
- Influence is not wealth.
You can have any one of those and not actually have influence.
2. God expects me to use the influence he’s given to me.
Influence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. It takes courage. You’ll have to get out of your comfort zone, speak up when you’re intimidated, and serve others when you don’t feel like it. Jesus challenged us to let our light shine and to be like salt that preserves and flavors the world around us. In other words, you have to decide to put your influence to use.
3. My influence is for the benefit of others.
When God gives you influence, it isn’t for the purpose of making you rich or famous, especially for your own pleasure. He gives you influence because He uses people to help other people. It’s about others. And the blessings of your influence are not for you to consume but for you to share.
4. If i’m not influencing them, they’re influencing me.
This is one of those truths naive leaders miss. Not only do we all influence others, but we’re all influenced by others as well. And when we’re unaware of the power that others have to influence us, we’ll allow our hearts to compromise. Just as Lot failed to influence the cities of the plain in Genesis, we too can become attached to the values of the culture we’re hoping to change.
5. The purpose of influence is to speak up for those that have no influence.
Psalm 72 is a prayer for leaders, and it says, “Please stand up for the poor, help the children of the needy, come down hard on the cruel tyrants.” In other words, God, please help leaders to use their influence on behalf of those who have little voice or platform of their own – the poor, the fatherless, the diseased and isolated, the slave and the oppressed.
6. I will answer to God for how I used my influence.
I am eternally accountable for how I used the influence God gave me in this life. What I do with my influence in the temporary world matters forever, and the Bible is filled with proof of this. The question God will ask every human being in His judgment is, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus?” And the question He will ask everyone who is a member of His family is, “What did you do with the time and the resources and the influence I gave you?”
I want to influence this world in light of the next. That’s our calling as Kingdom builders!
In my previous article I argued that “Everyone has influence. We all influence someone.” And that God expects us to be good stewards of that influence. And I defined a “kingdom builder” as one who as a great purpose to live for, great principles to live by, great power to live on, and great people to live with. I shared the first half of a dozen scriptural principles about influence:
- Everybody has influence.
- God expects me to use the influence He’s given me.
- My influence is for the benefit of others.
- If I’m not influencing them, they’re influencing me.
- The purpose of influence is to speak up for those that have no influence.
- I will answer to God for how I used my influence.
I want to share the other six principles of influence today.
7. If I use my influence well, God will give me more.
In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about the stewardship of influence in which a ruler had left several stewards in charge of different amounts of money. When he returned and found that two of the three had earned an increase on the money he told them each, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” This is a powerful principle to learn concerning God’s economy. God rewards our faithful influence with more influence.
8. The path to greater influence is service and generosity.
We assume that we must climb to higher positions in order to have more influence, but Jesus gave us an ethic of influence that started with stooping to serve instead. He put it this way: “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”Matthew 20:26 (NLT) We influence people with far more powerful results when we lead by serving.
9. You only influence people who trust you.
In other words, credibility is everything when it comes to leadership and influence. There are at least five ways for Christian leaders to develop trust with people.
- By praying for and with people.
- By setting a faithful example.
- By continually speaking truth.
- By encouraging and celebrating unity.
- By exhibiting courage as you lead.
10. Criticism is the inevitable price of influence.
Criticism isn’t fun. Life gets hard when you become a target, but that’s the inevitable result of an expanding influence. The more visible you are, the more of a target you will be. This was true for King David, for Nehemiah, and for Jesus as well as anyone who has been a mover and shaker in the history of the church. Embrace criticism as the blessed side effect of influence.
11. The fastest way to influence is by being likable.
This is not to say that being likable is more important than other values, but when we decide to show a genuine interest in other people, they tend to be interested in you, and this is often the gateway to influence.
12. Kingdom builders help others use their influence wisely.
Great leaders sharpen other leaders and influencers grow each other in community. Kingdom builders are not merely interested in having followers, but in raising up other leaders.
The Kingdom needs good leadership now more than ever. Will you put these principles to work in your life and be a Kingdom builder?