John Maxwell, one of the world’s top leadership experts, says that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Every one of us influence others in some way. We use our charms, our gifts of persuasion and our example of living to influence others. From the time we are children we look for ways to get other people to do what we want, which mostly benefits us. Great leaders don’t use their influence to get what they want though. They use their influence to help others grow. Take a moment to think about the people in your life who influence you. Are they getting you to do what they want or are they helping you to become a better person?
Additionally, we have two unseen influencers in our lives: the Holy Spirit and our sinful nature. One is trying to influence us to live a godly life, while the other is trying to get us to live for ourselves. If you take a moment to look at the fruit of your life, you’ll see who you are allowing to influence you more. Galatians 5:19-22 lists the fruits of both influencers, and it’s a good idea to look into the mirror of your life to see what fruit you’re producing. These two influencers produce very different fruits and all of us are producing one kind or the other. It’s a matter of whose voice you’re listening to and whose desires you want to satisfy. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (NLT).
The Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to us leading us into Christ-like living. He uses reminders of God’s Word to challenge us and to push us. Your sinful nature plays on your sympathies to get you to do what it wants. It tries to convince you that you deserve a little pleasure for what you’ve been going through. If you’re going to be influenced and led by the Spirit, you’re going to have to quit giving into the sympathetic voice that gets you to cave to sin. If you want to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, you’re going to have to let the Holy Spirit guide your life. His way is not the easy way because it’s the opposite of what your sinful nature wants, but it produces the fruit that allows you to influence others for God’s Kingdom.