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Are you influential?

Andrew Young reminds us, "We rise in glory as we sink in pride." He also reminds us, "Influence is like a savings account. The less you use it, the more you've got." Two seemingly different statements, but there is something that is consistent in both - WE are not to be at the center. Pride may not be what we label our sense of 'importance', or our desire to be 'noticed', but pride is a result of us being a little bit too close to the 'center' in our lives instead of Jesus. Influence is something we might desire to have in life, so those around us are positively affected by whatever it is we say and do. If the reason we desire influence is so that others will take notice of something we have done, pride may be just a little too closely related to what we believe to make us 'influential' in life. The greatest 'influence' comes not in us being noticed, but Christ being noticed IN us.

When you heard that Good News, you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he promised. The Spirit is the first payment that guarantees we will get all that God has for us. Then we will enjoy complete freedom as people who belong to him. The goal for all of us is the praise of God in all his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We belong to Christ, not the other way around. He sends his living Spirit to reside within us because he is working to change us - moving us from glory to glory. It isn't US doing the work of transforming our lives - it is God IN US doing the work to transform us into his image. Ego at the center really shuts down the work of God in us because the 'rebuilding' of our lives comes to a halt when we take up the work of 'self-transformation'. God asks for us to allow him to do the work of building us up wherever our character needs restoration. The hope of glory exists because God is doing the work of regenerating our spirit. Do you know what it means to have something 'regenerated'? It means there is a complete moral reform that takes place! It means there is a remaking that is taking place to bring about a 'better form'. The 'former' existed, but not to the degree of glory that the 'reformed' will!

Transformation begins in the spirit of man, but then God goes about the work of transforming our souls. This is the life-long reformation work that God undertakes within us - daily helping us to overcome bad habits, giving us new direction on how to make the right choices, and helping us sort out all the 'mess' we find in our lives because we have a sin nature. God doesn't rip out our soul and give us another one - he reforms our soul. He helps us make better choices that reflect he is at the center of our lives. He helps us build one right choice upon another until it becomes habitual that we choose wisely. In time, our soul is transformed - selfish ambitions, prideful choices, and egocentric focus are put aside, replaced with God's intentional purpose, his 'influence' shining through in right actions. 

We don't transform ourselves. We don't create a new image. God is the one who does the transformation that allows the image of his Son to become clearer and clearer in us until the influence we have in life is not ours, but HIS. Just sayin!

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