By Bethany Pitman
Who is your favorite influencer on social media? Is it a fashion expert who posts links to endless trendy outfits and shows you how to dress for the season? Maybe it is a cooking guru whose recipes are fancy enough to look impressive but easy enough to make. Or, maybe you follow an influencer who is an expert in your professional field. Whoever it is, most people love to see what their favorite influencer posts, and, often, buys into the messaging. Social media personalities have power and sway. What would it look like if we had the same ability to influence the culture?
While we often associate the term influencer with someone who has thousands of followers and millions of likes, the true definition of an influencer is quite different. The dictionary definition of the term is “a person who inspires or guides the actions of others.” With that definition in mind, it’s easy to see that influencers have been around since the beginning of time:
- The devil influenced Eve to eat the fruit.
- Centuries of political leaders have influenced and shaped their countries.
- Music and movie stars set the newest trends and influence what we watch and listen to.
There was another great influencer who came to earth. Jesus went against the grain and was the opposite of the influencers we so often turn to today. Jesus wasn’t trendy, didn’t care about how many people liked him, and wasn’t concerned with material wealth. Jesus DID inspire and guide the actions of others. His message was countercultural, and it changed the world forever. He preached kindness over revenge and forgiveness over judgment. Jesus held people accountable for their actions while speaking the truth in love. Jesus promoted humility and sacrifice over self-elevation. As he hung on the cross, blameless, Jesus could have hurled insults or recruited a legion of angels to save him. But he didn’t. Instead, he responded in compassion and love as he took our sins upon himself and spoke words of forgiveness to the people who had beaten and shamed him. Those who witnessed that day were forever changed.
Jesus calls us to be influencers in a world that scorns his principles. When we show kindness over hatred, people notice. When we model Christian principles in our lifestyles, people pay attention. When we listen and respond instead of yelling and reacting, we change the culture. Offering grace and forgiveness instead of holding a grudge will inspire and guide others’ actions. When we show compassion to those who choose a different path while still speaking the truth in love, we slowly become influencers in a world that is not our home.
We may not have worldly status or wealth, but we are equipped to be influencers in the world. We likely will not be met with thousands of likes, but, because we are armed with Spirit and protected by the blood of Christ, we have been given the power and principles to “inspire and guide the actions of others” and lead people to the ultimate freedom that comes through living in Christ.
Editor’s note: CTA partners with you in your ministry, providing products and coordinating resources to make your life easier. Encourage those in your ministry as they inspire and guide those around them, influencing them in all the right ways! Visit ctainc.com and our Resource & Idea Center.