The goal that Jesus has for our lives is to make us into the best version of me (reflecting the person of Christ) that is possible through the work of His Spirit. This process is the spiritual transformation of our hearts, our minds, our priorities and our relationships.
Remember, perfection is not the goal of our lives – that will take place only when we see Him face to face. Paul challenges us to simply live up to the level of maturity that we already have (Philippians 3:16). The most powerful indicator of God’s supernatural work in our lives is this very transformation because in its process, our hearts, minds, priorities and relationships change and those changes are only possible through God’s work in our lives. It is as people see those changes and want the same for their lives that they press into how and why we have changed. Or are quietly influenced to move in the same direction themselves.
It is this very transformation which God intends for our lives that is a powerful source of our deep influence with others as they see God’s work in our lives. I am a gentler, kinder, more empathetic person than I was twenty years ago. Those who have known me over that time can see the change and it is a testimony to God’s work in my life. It gives me greater influence but the very transformation becomes a encouragement to those who need to experience that same transformation themselves.
Paul made this point to Timothy when he wrote, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:15-16). It was precisely Timothy’s growth that would be an encouragement to those who knew him and give him credibility in his ministry.
Never allow anyone to place you on a pedestal as if you have arrived. It is a dangerous and dishonest place to be. Rather, be disclosing about where God is working in your life as a reminder to others that the work of God’s Spirit is central to our lives and that all of us are on that journey. We cannot influence others from a pedestal (it is dishonest and unattainable). We can influence others as we are transparent about our own spiritual journey and the lessons we are learning.
As we press into the transformation God desires for our lives, we gain influence because we become more like Him. At the same time, as we are open about what God is doing in our lives we influence others in the same direction. Transparency in the journey is a key element in our deeper influence with those around us. While we all try to hide the rough spots in our lives to some degree or another, we all struggle with the same kinds of things. Those who are willing to name the struggles and how God is working become a great encouragement to others who want and need the same.
Think through your circle of friends and acquaintances and ask yourself the question, “How self disclosing and transparent am I with them?” I have found that the more transparent I am in my leadership role, the more those I lead appreciate me and my self disclosure. In that self-disclosure I become more real, less guarded, more accessible, humbler, less threatened and less threatening. Just being me – as long as I am engaged in God’s transformation is far more powerful than seeking a persona of me.
Transparency begets transparency. And, it deepens our influence as others are encouraged to allow God to do in their lives what He is doing in ours.
One powerful area of regular transparency is simply sharing what God is showing us as we pursue him. That openness is also an encouragement to others to also be pressing into their relationship with God and avoid the trap of being so busy serving Him that we are not cultivating our relationship with him. Every time I hear a colleague share how God is working in their life I am encouraged to think about that area in my life and I am reminded that “intimacy comes before impact.”
The power of a group of individuals regularly sharing their cutting edge issues with God is truly significant. It is a leverage in the lives of all present because we are exposed to many lessons being learned. And the openness promotes individual an group transparency. It is leaders who set the culture for this kind of sharing. To the extent that we are open and transparent, others will be as well.