You Were Created for Influence

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

Anyone familiar with my story knows my teenage years were very, very difficult. I didn’t really know who I was, didn’t feel like I really fit in, and perhaps the greatest pain came from the feeling of being invisible and insignificant. When I became a Christian at the age of 15, I often dreamed of being the new Billy Graham, preaching in front of packed stadiums and watching thousands come to faith as they responded to my altar calls. My dreams always seemed to collide with reality; in a school where sports were king and the cool kids were out partying every weekend, I felt like a nobody. My secret struggles with sexuality only heightened my sense that my life was just a big mistake, instead of one with meaning and purpose.

Pam Tebow wrote a devotional for Proverbs 31 Ministries titled “You Were Created for Influence.” In our celebrity-focused culture it’s easy to think we need to be someone powerful or famous in order to make a difference. Reality couldn’t be further from the truth; Pam makes this great point:

You don’t have to be famous, rich or successful. You don’t need an impressive degree or lots of followers on social media. A specific age, nationality or personality is not a requirement, and you’re not limited by your job, location or marital status. You, my friend, have the power to positively influence others.

When we set aside our fears and “set our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” we open the door to be used in amazing ways, setting the perfect stage for all sorts of “Wow God!” stories to be told!

In her conclusion, Pam offers these words of encouragement:

God uses ordinary people like you and me to star in extraordinary “God stories” — real-life narratives of purpose and influence. Although we’re all imperfect and inconsistent, we can still be influential because of God’s grace and power in and through us. As Jesus said: “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b).

I struggled most of my life with wishing I were a “stronger” person; ironically, as I reflect on my journey I can see I’ve actually had some of my greatest impact and influence during times of intense struggle and pain. God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he? His ways are certainly not our ways - and that’s a good thing. I have influence; so do you. Let’s go make some ripples for Jesus!