As you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, God begins to influence others through you. The life of Jesus becomes increasingly manifest in your being (see 2 Corinthians 4:11). As you daily die to self, living through the Spirit, that glorious life of our Savior becomes a reality in you. In this way, God uses you to impact others for His glory.
This is what Jesus meant when he said, “You are the salt of the earth,” and “you are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14) Influencing others for Christ is the essence of spiritual leadership. God has called us to be channels of his grace to those within our sphere of influence. You and I literally stand in Christ’s stead as God’s ambassadors (see 2 Corinthians 5:20).
Consider your own life: If you are making a difference in someone’s life, most likely, it’s because someone else made a difference in your life. Someone set an example, spoke truth into your life, or reached out to you in a time of need so that you were profoundly impacted by the life of Christ lived out through them. Isn’t that the kind of life to which we should all aspire?
Consider also how others influence you: There will always be some who ignite your passion for God. Their example and zeal are contagious. In every aspect of life, their love for the Lord is obvious. There will also be some who share your passion--kindred spirits with whom you share the same spiritual goals and desires.
Of course, there will be those who drain your passion. They’re human sponges that zap your spiritual energy and challenge your patience. Allow these people to remind you of two important things: First, they may be where you once were, and second, you must constantly renew your devotion to Christ.
If you desire to be a person who touches the lives of others, you must first understand that the goal is never to change others but to seek the glory of God. Influence is a byproduct of passionately loving Jesus first and foremost. It’s never about yourself; as the Apostle Paul said, it’s “not I but Christ.” The godly influence that may be exerted on another person for Jesus Christ is most often the result of one passionately pursuing Him (see Philippians 3:13-14).
For this reason, regularly check your spiritual passion. Is your soul satisfied in Jesus Christ? Are you spending time with Him daily in His Word and prayer? Are you totally yielded to him, relying on His grace and guidance for each new day? If not, pray that he would increase your desire and passion toward him.
To make a difference you have to be different. That difference will be the level of your passion for God. So, stop trying to change people and just love Jesus.