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13th July 2014
Jesus says his followers are to be salt and light in the world – people who influence and affect society by reflecting the goodness of the Kingdom of God.
Whether we like it or not, we all influence those around us. The question isn’t whether we influence – it’s how we influence: is it good or bad?
In Genesis 37 we read the beginning of Joseph’s story. He was called as a teenager to have influence. We see how his whole family let negative things creep into their lives and affect how they influenced others.
For example, Joseph’s father, Jacob, let his influence be affected by favouritism. He had 12 sons but he made just one robe, giving it to his favourite son, Joseph. Jacob could’ve influenced all 12 of his sons, but his actions hindered his influence.
Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him. They saw their father’s favouritism and they hated Joseph for it. They weren’t secure in their father’s love, so they felt threatened by Joseph’s dreams to the point that they discussed killing him!
Whether it’s in our natural families or church family, we are called to be brothers and sisters who influence positively by affirming, honouring and encouraging our siblings.
Joseph’s brothers wanted to pull him down, but as followers of Jesus we need to make sure we don’t pull others down but instead push them into their dreams. When someone you know is elevated – maybe they even get a position you wanted – how do you respond?
God loves each of us equally, without favouritism, with none who is second best; God knows you by name and you are as special to Him as anyone else.
As for Joseph, his influence was impeded by bad timing! Joseph had heard from God, but he needed wisdom in how to handle what God had said. He could’ve processed it just with God, or just with one of his brothers, first, but he rushed in and told them all. And as soon as he said it, his influence stopped.
When we carry amazing dreams, we need to be aware of timing and of how we handle and steward what God says. The key is holding onto God through it all – through all seasons of life.
Jesus is the greatest influencer there has ever been. He influenced for awesome good, promising that through Him all the nations of the world would be blessed, healed, delivered and, ultimately, that through Him we can be saved and have an eternal relationship with God our Father in heaven.
But before it got good, it got incredibly bad, with Jesus being despised, rejected, persecuted, betrayed, beaten and killed on a cross, carrying the sins of humanity.
Jesus was totally loved by the Father, like Joseph was loved by his father. But people were jealous of Jesus; He was disowned by His brothers; He was betrayed, sold and handed over, like Joseph. But Jesus has risen! He has been elevated to the highest place, with salvation available to all who call on his name!
Jesus has influenced us. Now He calls us to influence others, so whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!
To listen to 'Immature Influence' sermon and download the life application questions, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis