InFLUence | Popularity
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned…I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.” 1 Samuel 15:34
Joanna clattered down the stairs and stopped at her mother’s shocked expression. “What?” she said a bit too loudly, slapping at a long strand of dyed-black hair. A long moment passed before her mother spoke. “I’m concerned about you,” she said. “You’re changing. You’ve stopped going to church…your head is half shaved…lots of new piercings…and, is that a skull tattoo?” Joanna rolled her black-rimmed eyes. “Mo-om, I’ve told you about my new friends. I’m trying to influence them and this is how we…I mean, they, do things.” Her mother slipped an arm around Joanna’s shoulders. “Honey, if you’re changing who you are for someone else, then it is not you who is influencing them. They are influencing you.”
Like Joanna, we fool ourselves. We all have an inborn desire for the approval of other people. That isn’t wrong until we start believing that our worth is based upon what others think of us. Then we are no longer serving Christ. Popularity should never be the goal in our desire to influence because popularity strives for the approval of other people; influence strives for the approval of God. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” We cannot serve both God and popularity because those paths will part at some point. When our commitment is to Christ and His word, the world’s changing whims won’t unseat us.
Are you seeking to be a good influence or seeking to be popular? You have to choose one or the other.
Father, I like to think I am a good influence, but help me be honest with myself. How many of my choices were motivated by a desire to fit in? I am your servant and want to pursue influence, not popularity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.