A Conversation in the Shower
Over the last 3 years I have had an ongoing conversation with the Father about influence. Specifically, the influence of the believer in society today.
Scriptures like Psalms 2:8 where it says, “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as your possession.”
And Matthew 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me on heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
These kinds of scriptures fascinate me, excite me, drive me, but also haunt me. This promise and request to disciple nations is something that I am really interested in and passionate about. I believe that we desperately need those who are in relationship with the Father to be in places of influence nationally and globally.
And yet at the same time - it haunts me. Why? Because the size of the task seems overwhelming and out of reach. I am excited about the “what”, but mystified by the “how”.
Its worth mentioning here that the type of influence I believe we are called to posses is not a position of control. But rather a position of favour where we can help serve society by making known the strategy, intention, and desire of the Father.
Over the last few centuries of history we can see that the church has lost its position of influence in the life of the world. By this I mean, the world does not want to listen to what we have to say anymore. They are not interested in what we think OR in the advice we think we have.
To be honest, after hearing some of what has been said over the last few decades, I would have to say that its best the world hasn't listened to us for a while… Selah.
Have you ever been around someone who is constantly trying to tell you what to do and who always points out what you did wrong - even when you thought you did well? No matter how good you think you did, they will tell you 10 ways you could have done it better. I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say, it doesn't take long for that to become SUPER annoying right?!?!
Unfortunately, to the world, we have become that annoying person that no one wants to be around. When they have needed comfort and a blanket to keep warm, we have told them why they are cold a miserable and why they deserve to be that way. When they have succeeded and done well, instead of celebrating with them we have torn them down, devaluing their success thinking we are doing them a favour. Instead of being a place of safety and comfort, a place the world can run too, we have become the one who has done everything we can to convince them they are worthless and the life they are living has no value.
The hate-filled, judgemental tone of condemnation just isn't all that attractive to be around. Hard to believe I know! We have business owners, teachers, builders, parents, even politicians, who are trying to “make the world a better place” and don’t want to hear how useless, wrong, or ugly they are. They just want to hear how they make a difference and leave the world a little better than what they found it. They have simply stopped listening to the voices that are not offering anything useful…
We have tried to tell the world they are so horrible, yuk, and evil because they don’t want Jesus. We have tried to convince them of their ugliness thinking that it will create a desire for Jesus… I don't know about you, but when I hang out with people who think I am useless or horrible, it definitely doesn't make me feel empowered or encouraged. The only desire I feel is to walk away!
Jesus is the desire of the nations. When people see Him, they want Him. If the world around us don’t want Him, it’s not because they are evil and rotten. Its because they haven't yet clearly seen Him… Which is where we come in. Selah.
I remember as a young christian somehow having picked up the belief that it was wrong when a non-christian earned lots of money or succeeded in some way. For some reason it was evil and they needed to suffer loss… It sounds harsh but deep down, many of us have caught the same root system. Its like we think the world needs to suffer in order to find Jesus… I realised I had a fear of non-christians succeeding because it meant they would have no need for Jesus.
Have we really diminished Jesus to the point where He is only desirable when people are at rock bottom?
I now know that we can reveal Jesus to the world around us be sharing His insights, strategy, and wisdom with them. For the business owner, he/she will see Jesus when they are given a strategy for their business that causes it to be blessed. For the doctor, they will see Jesus when they are given a word on how to treat something that has been untreatable. For the John and Jane Doe living next door to you or working across from you, they will see Jesus when you reveal His love, wisdom and strategy for their life. Jesus has no fear of people succeeding and He actually loves seeing their dreams and desires come to life! He is the desire of the nations and when they see Him they will want Him!
I don’t know about you but it seems like whenever I have a shower the Lord loves to speak to me. Maybe its just because my attention is easier to get ahold of… Phones and computers don't seem to work so well in the shower. Or maybe its because I don't smell so bad… What ever the reason, I have some great God convo’s in my shower. This morning the Father began to speak again about this thing of influence that we have been chatting about for some time now.
As is the norm when God speaks, He said something so simple and yet painfully impacting. As we chatted, one of the points He raised was this;
“As you increase your value and vision for a person or place, your influence will also begin to increase. When value and vision diminish, so to does your influence.”
When God speaks to me about specific things like this I like to chat to Him about what those things really mean to Him. I have found that I can often have a preconceived idea about something which decreases its impact on my life. So naturally I wanted to know more about value and vision.
What we began to talk about was how Value is the ability to see who someone really is. Whether its an individual, a city, or a nation - We need to be able to see the heavenly value. Even when this individual, city, or nation can’t see it themselves. Value is about seeing beyond what a person can do, into who they truly are. Value is also able to see where a person or place has come from.
Vision is the ability to dream. Its the ability to see the potential in a person, city or nation. Vision is the ability to have a dream, not out of simply “wishing” for the best for someone, but out of this hidden potential that is often buried deep below the surface. We can see what a person, place, or situation is capable of and we allow a God sized dream to take shape in our hearts as to what it might look like when this person or place steps into the fullness of that awesome dream!
Where Value is about understanding where a person or place has come from, Vision is about seeing where Heaven designed them to be!
The Father began to show me how our loss of influence as a church was directly correspondent to our diminished value and vision for the world around us.
If you are anything like me your christian life began with a massive focus on things like “we are to be in the world but not of it.” And “we are to be dead to this world.” In our passion and zeal these things were taken to mean “being separate from the world.” Apparently, we as Christians were meant to be disgusted and grossed out by the world. If we had any sort of love for it, it was our sinful nature that needed to be put to death…. again.
As I’ve journeyed with the Lord over the last few years I have come to learn something - separation is the very thing that He came to end. It is not something that He wants, needs, or is expecting from us. Jesus being our model for life here on earth, wove Himself into society. He did the complete opposite of separation and got involved and connected to the world around Him. He immersed Himself in the culture of His day. People came to Him because in Him they came alive and found who they were born to be!
Our message to the world for so long has been “you are worthless and you need to come to God in order to have any value at all.” Although this may sound somewhat noble to our Old Covenant way of thinking, it is so far from the truth its disorientating.
Remember the classic scripture in John 3:16: “For God so LOVED the WORLD that He gave is only Son.”
Jesus came to show the world just how valuable they are! Our message to the world needs to be “you are so incredibly valuable, that is why He wants you!”
So then what does “being in the world but not of it” really mean? How can we be true to this scripture and yet hold a genuine value and vision for our people, cities, and nations?
What I have come to realise is that being in the world and not of it is about removing the dependancy we have on the world. The dependancy for comfort, happiness, identity etc. All these things that we once only found in the opinions of the world are now only found in the Father.
As I have come to understand this I can fully love the world and the people in it without any agenda. I can be fully IN the world but I don’t have any dependancy on it for happiness, comfort or identity. To be “OF” the world is where we can’t live without it. We have a dependancy on it for happiness. We find our identity from it which forces us to try and control the world around us. When we finally figure out that we can’t control our external world the only option left is to separate ourselves… Which is partnering with the very thing Jesus came to destroy.
When we discover our fullness and acceptance in our Father we have no dependancy on the world so we are able to love it unconditionally. Meaning - to be able to love without needing any return.
As we discover what it truly means to be “in the world but not of it” we find ourselves being able to deeply value the individuals, cities, and nations around us. And as we spot this intrinsic value we are able to hold a vision in our heart that encourages and empowers the world around us to step into its fullness.
I am so stoked to see, and be a part of, this monumental change in the relationship we the church share with the world. To see separation dissolve and true love come is so incredibly awesome! It's so exciting to see and hear of believers who have such a value and vision for their cities and nations being welcomed into positions of influence! May it continue and may we prove to be a people who can empower the world around us into fullness in Him!
Can you see the immeasurable value in the people and places around you? Have you caught a dream, a vision, from the heart of the Father for your city, region, and nation?
“As you increase your value and vision, your influence will also begin to increase."