Unleashing Your Unique Influence
Unleashing Your Unique Influence
When you see someone using a plastic straw, what do you think?
Maybe you think that person is a monster just for touching a plastic straw. You think a straw is a symbol of evil. Or maybe you think that person is standing up for their right to drink a Ginger-Lime Diet Coke the way God intended: through a big fat plastic straw. You think that straw is a symbol of freedom.
We think many different things about plastic straws, but we have one thing in common: five years ago, none of us were thinking about straws at all. Until one day in 2015, when a grad student named Christine Figgener posted a video of a plastic straw being plucked out of the nostril of a sea turtle in Costa Rica with a pair of pliers. Within a few days, it had 500,000 views. Now, four years later, it has 37 million views. And there are huge companies like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Disney, that are cutting plastic straws out of their operations. There are cities, states, and countries that are banning plastic straws completely.
All because of one person.
It’s amazing the kind of influence one person can have. And that’s the whole point of the book of Titus. Paul wrote the letter because he wanted a young guy named Titus to influence the entire island of Crete with the grace of Jesus. But he knew that Titus couldn’t do that by himself. He would need to influence believers across the island to be influencers as well.
Paul also understood that different people have different kinds of influence. We’re each in unique seasons of life. We all have unique roles. And that gives us unique opportunities and obstacles for influence. These are the groups he listed, and what they need to pursue to influence the people around us. Where are you on this list?
Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance (Titus 2:1-2). Old guys influence the people around them when they are sensible (taking serious things seriously and not getting worked up over unimportant things), and sound in faith (looking forward to what God has ahead, rather than longing for the good old days in the past).
Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good (Titus 2:3). Mature women become influential through their reverence (having a sense of purpose and weightiness in the things they do) and good teaching (intentionally mentoring others rather than indulging themselves with practices like excessive drinking).
Encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered (Titus 2:4-5). Young women influence their families through their kindness and purity (even when their house feels like the Lord of the Flies) and their submission and respect for their husbands (even when their husbands aren’t worthy of respect, as Peter says in 1 Peter 2).
Encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything (Titus 2:6-7). Young guys really only need one thing: self control. Most young guys don’t have it, so you’ll be an influence when you do show self-control in your thoughts, habits, work, and relationships.
No matter which group you belong to, Paul makes one thing clear: your influence doesn’t come through your accomplishments, but primarily through your character. Through things like self-control, love, sensibility and faith.
And here’s how Paul says you gain those things: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age (Titus 2:11-12). You’ll only have real influence in the world when God’s grace has influenced you through Jesus.