The morning before the Orange Conference starts, there is a pre-conference series of workshops where attendees can dive deeper and get an extra dose of wisdom. My first stop was with author and speaker Jon Acuff, who spoke about “4 Things that Lead to Influence.”

It all starts with identity, moves on to your values, then to who you are listening to, before finally moving to how you spend your time. Let’s dive into each of these with some notes and quotes.

Identity

Instead of asking, “Who am I?” we need to start asking “Who does God say I am?” We also need to keep Satan from using regret against us. Two lies he likes to use is that we are either too young or too old. Remember that God is in the business of making things new. It’s never too late. We just need to give it to God, because time is nothing to Him. Also remember that knowing your identity is a process that is never done. In fact, none of the four things that lead to influence are checkmark-type things. They are all ongoing.

Values

What do you value? These are the things that make you passionate and excited. Not all of our values are the same, though, so don’t let others determine your values for you. For example, some of you do not value managing people, but someone else might want to put you in a management position because you’re good at what you do. Perhaps you are already where you need to be.

After we figure out what we value, we need to ask ourselves if we want those to be something we value. Then ask God to help you value what He values. We are the worst at recognizing our own talents, but we are often the best at recognizing the talents of others. So when someone compliments you, learn to accept it instead of blowing it off. Maybe it’s God using someone else to show you what you value or how you are talented.

Listen

Who are we listening to, and who are we letting influence us? While many of us realize how wise it is to listen to the right other people, but how about yourself? We also need to start realizing what your own voice is saying. Is it the voice you want to hear? If not, we need to make changes in order to hear the right voices from everyone, including ourselves.

Time

Where do you spend your time? What and who gets most of your time? In thinking about time, Jon mentioned that it’s very important to realize those things that we receive from God and others versus those things we control and achieve. Sometimes, God just likes to bless us without a ton of work on our end. Ephesians 2:10 says that God has prepared things in advance for us.

We also need to remember that productivity is always less important than generosity. We need to spend time with people who don’t know God, so we can both see God work and so we can grow in our compassion. So again, where do you spend your time?

Identity. Values. Listen. Time.

All of that leads to influence, and it should never go the other way. And no matter what, we should steward the influence we already have, instead of only working to get more.

And it all comes back to Ephesians 2:10, which says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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