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There is always the question for those of us with drive. Are we motivated by a desire to control or a desire to influence? This is an especially important question when it comes to raising children. Most of them have a sixth sense about whether they are being controlled or influenced.

Do we have a rigid plan for them, regardless of how they are wired? Does this plan have to do with us and our personal aggrandizement or them and what will fit their skills and talents? This is how we can tell whether we have a desire to influence and allow it to develop in the style they choose? or do we insist on controlling the outcome and what it looks like? stop

Your influence/control shows in most of your relationships, both inside and outside of your family

Of course, this overflows into other relationships as well. It is difficult to have relationships with people you feel are trying to control you. They convey a lack of trust in your judgement, possibly an indication that you haven’t grown up or are immature. While those who have the approach of influencing tend to communicate that  they consider you to be mature, but you may need a little input. They feel confident that once you have some helpful input, you will be able to put it into practice in a way that works well in your situation,,,or will ask questions that you have.

Influencing is often what we do in adult education. But we do it in a lot of other settings too. Hopefully, we do it a lot in the church. I know it hasn’t always been the case, but it should be. As believers, we have access to the Holy Spirit who is not only working in us to grow us, but is working in those we mentor as well. They may need our influence, but definitely not our control. Why? because Christians aren’t all supposed to look alike. We aren’t supposed to be a bunch of robots who behave the same (always smiling!) and move robotically through life!

If you are in a position to parent or otherwise lead others, particularly in spiritual ways, remember the power of influencing. This is often done by asking questions and allowing the person to talk and reflect on why they are doing something…or not doing it. When we influence, we are able to have an effect on others without browbeating them. We can encourage often, yet still lift them up along the way and slowly add in correctives along the way as needed. I have found that correctives aren’t needed very often if we do a good job encouraging well.

When you influence, you are not working alone. This is a work where you are teaming up with the Spirit. You don't know what is going on in the heart of the person you are talking to or befriending. Click To Tweet

When you influence, you are not working alone. This is a work where you are teaming up with the Spirit. You don’t know what is going on in the heart of the person you are talking to or befriending. But GOD guides you and He works in that person’s heart to make it tender. He uses life experience, His Word and other people in their lives as well. And then the learning is used in their heart and mind and comes out looking quite different than anything you would have imagined…because ultimately, it is a work of the Holy Spirit!

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed,
so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

for it is God who works in you,

both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

 

 

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