By Cindy Singleton
Have you experienced the power of Christian influence in your life? Do you realize the power you have to show Christian influence? You can both receive and give this power as a woman of faith.
My Story of Christian Influence
Her face lit up when I entered the room. Seated in front of twenty or so women, she briefly introduced herself as Cathy. Then she opened her Bible and began teaching―verse-by-verse―from the book of Revelation.
I was a young American living in Singapore, where my husband worked offshore. He was gone for 25 days and then home for five. After a year of living mostly apart, our marriage was in shambles and I was more lonely, scared and hopeless than I’d ever been in my life.
The day before, I’d embarrassed myself by begging a friend to let me tag along to her Bible study. I’d never been to a Bible study before, but I was desperate for a way to fill my lonely mornings.
It was the way Cathy’s eyes lit up when she talked about Jesus that made me lean in. She sounded as though she knew him personally. And when she read Scripture, it seemed her entire life hinged on what God’s Word had to say.
Week after week I showed up to hear Cathy talk about the God she loved and the Bible she lived by.
Finally, I realized what was missing in my life was the Jesus Cathy had in hers. I surrendered my life to the Lord, and over time he restored my marriage and gave me a hunger for his Word.
4 Ways to Be a Christian Influence
Christians are called to impact the world around us just as Cathy influenced me, yet many of us doubt we have the ability. That’s why it’s helpful to borrow a few tips from social media influencers. Here are four of their tactics that can help us influence others for Christ.
It’s not always easy to be real. To be honest, most of us are pretty good at placing filters on our weaknesses, problems and imperfections. But social media influencers understand people will believe them if they appear authentic.
That’s a solid tip we can use. When we refuse to let people see the real version of ourselves, they feel shut out. On the other hand, when we’re vulnerable― open and honest about our imperfect marriages, embarrassing weaknesses or unruly children―people relate to us and feel invited in.
Cathy wasn’t perfect. She was honest about her life issues, and showed us how God was leading her through them. When we’re authentic, other people get to see in real time how God’s presence makes a difference in our everyday lives.
Social media influencers understand that we trust what we’re familiar with. That’s why they post often and consistently. In the same way, influential Christians are people who show up.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus traveled with a large group of people (Luke 8:1-3). Did he need them? Likely not. No doubt they were needy and bothersome at times, as humans are prone to be. But perhaps he chose to “do life” with them for their sake and not his.
We impact lives when we’re willing to be inconvenienced. If we’re consistent, other people will trust our influence.
Be careful about who you promote
Self-promotion is distasteful. That’s why people reject pop-ups and sponsored ads used by traditional advertising. By contrast, because social media influencers design content their followers like, their posts ―even though they’re designed to sell something― are perceived as non-intrusive and perhaps even entertaining.
One of the most subtle dangers we face as Christians is self-promotion. When we believe all we need to do is “let our lives be a testimony,” we risk focusing on ourselves. That’s why we must “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, HCSB).
For 25 years I raised our three daughters while my husband worked overseas. Now, people often ask me, “How did you do it?” And, to be honest, I’m tempted to explain―in practical terms― “I took naps and circled my wagons.” But that’s not the whole story.
The truth is, God answered my prayers for wisdom and strength. He gave me insight, turned my Bible into a parenting how-to book, and taught me to rely on Him.
When I give God the credit he deserves for restoring my marriage and carrying me through my exhausting season of mothering, my life rightfully becomes an influence for him.
Be the light
You can influence someone for Christ. Look around you. Who can you be real with? Available to? Who needs to hear where your peace and joy come from?
Above all else, a Christian influencer is willing to “let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, HCSB).
Wife Step: Apply one of the four tips will you apply this week in-person and/or online.
A long-time Bible student and teacher, Cindy Singleton is a wife, best friend to three grown daughters, mother-in-law to two pastors, and “CeCe” to eight grandchildren. She enjoys sharing her life experiences as evidence of God’s faithfulness. When she’s not visiting Disney theme parks or planning her annual Camp CeCe, Cindy can be found writing and serving women on her blog. The Titus Woman. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.