“Influencer,” a Lenten Devotion

Throughout Lent, we will be featuring devotions by members of a writing group at First Baptist Church, Southern Pines, NC.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

“Influencer.” The bright yellow sweatshirt with blue font immediately grabbed my attention from it’s place on the sales rack. Before I could process the implications of being an “influencer,” an excited mother hastened to the garment while calling out her teen’s name. The idea of being an influencer is attractive and even intoxicating. At the same time, I cannot imagine Jesus going about his Father’s business wearing a bright statement sweatshirt.

“Influencers” persuade American culture mainly through blogs, podcasts, and social media. Their presence is celebrated by followers who mimic their example, whether that’s by wearing the same clothing, following their political party, or even joining their noble cause. While this type of influence can seem meaningful, there is something cold and disingenuous about being discipled by a stranger who is primarily focused on their personal brand.

In Matthew 6, Jesus warns his followers against influencers that trumpet their own piety, generosity, faithfulness, and adherence to spiritual disciplines. These actions, while noble and good, are not meant to draw attention to self, but to draw us closer to God. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross bridged the gap of sin between God and humanity, allowing us to experience a closeness and intimacy with God not previously possible. Our nearness to God was costly and we honor Christ with our genuine adherence to these disciplines.

In truth, our greatest influencers shape us through unassuming means. They are our mentors, teachers, coaches, and friends; people who model the love of Jesus without having to call our attention to how well they follow him. They exude the grace and love of Jesus Christ, which comes only from personal intimacy with God. They don’t map out our faith journey in a set of simple steps to follow (with themselves as the example); rather, they invite and encourage us to explore the mystery of the depths and riches of God’s love and to extend that love to others.

Who do I allow to influence my relationship with Christ? How am I influencing others to grow closer to him?

Father, bring humble influencers into my life. May any influence I project only be a reflection of Your Spirit abiding in me. Amen.

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  1. Betty Elhat says

    Just getting connected. Thank you.