Under the Influence ...

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In what seems like another lifetime, I trained to be a private pilot. I loved every chance to be in a cockpit. And I loved learning about all the wide array of skills and responsibilities that go into being a competent pilot.
After learning the basics of controlling the plane in flight, we quickly moved on to navigation. A compass heading is unavoidable. Whether parked, taxiing, or in flight, the nose of the plane is pointed in some direction. Once you’re airborne, you’re headed somewhere. But are you moving toward where you want to go?
The term “influence” is now everywhere, and it is ascribed to an amazing array of people. But what is now influence is pretty much equivalent to a compass heading – it’s a new term for the much more archaic (even dreadful?) terms authority or discipleship. You’re headed somewhere following someone.
In God’s Word, the term Jesus used for disciple merely meant learner. A disciple is a pupil. And discipleship results in reproduction – derived from God’s work at creation of designing us as His image-bearers. Whether for good or ill, discipleship results in little images of the influencer being produced.
So, what is the connection between compass headings and discipleship? Because if you think of yourself as a Christian, then our Chief Disciple-maker is our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. No one on earth has the wisdom, power, authority, or love that He embodies. His influence is pure and flawless.
But politicians, celebrities, artists, or possibly just a tech-savvy teenager can all disciple. Is this your desired outcome? Is your ultimate life goal to end up like them – whoever they are?
Jesus calls us to Himself for Him to work upon us in a now and forever project of recovery, re-birth, and redemptive influence. According to Romans 8:28-29, God works everything together for our good AS we’re being redeemed and conformed to the image of Jesus. And then our influence upon others is supposed to align with His influence over and through us, Matthew 28:18-20.
Hopefully, everything that happens through the ministries of Trinity helps to move you toward the influence of Jesus. We have no higher goal than that.
So, where are you headed? What is your desired outcome or destination? Under whose influence do you live? And are the people who influence you most helping you to get there?