Do you follow any Christian influencers online or have you ever thought about becoming an influencer yourself? It may look glamorous on the surface, but the truth is that there is a lot of nitty-gritty heart work a person needs to go through to become a leader in the public eye. When you put yourself out there online, you’re inviting judgement and ridicule, and personally, I believe there is no sector more difficult to position yourself in as a leader than the Christian sector. Why is this? Let’s take a look:
Being a Christian Influencer Makes You a Target for The Enemy
When I think of being an influencer, the word ‘Glamour’ just continues to come to mind. Influencers share their highlight reels online. We want to invoke a positive change in the lives of those who see us. Yes, many choose to share their low-lights. The truth is that being a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, in fact, if you’re an Influencer for Christ, the truth is, you’ll probably suffer more. You’ll be a target and that’s something you need to be prepared to face if you haven’t already. The Bible says, ‘Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to swallow up.’ (1 Peter 5:8). If you are a key player and you’re winning souls for the Kingdom, you become a target. The enemy knows if he can take out a key goal-scorer, then he has prevented all those other people you influence from coming to know the Lord. If you want to be a Christian influencer, you need to be prepared to get on your armour.
Being a Christian Influencer Can Make You a Target Amongst Your Peers
Well, this may be a little controversial but it’s the honest truth. As Christians, we are encouraged to blend in, to be just like everyone around us and not to rock the boat. I’m not sure what country you live in, but here in Australia, we have this thing in our culture called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. Here’s a description for you and see if you think this sounds familiar to you:
“Tall poppy syndrome” is a cultural phenomenon. The term describes a tendency for people to criticize and disparage those who are considered to be more successful or accomplished than their peers. It is called “tall poppy syndrome” because, in a field of poppies, the tallest poppy is the most visible and vulnerable to being cut down. In the context of society, the tall poppy represents those who stand out from the crowd, either through their achievements or social status.
Tall poppy syndrome is seen as a cultural trait that can hold people back and discourage ambition and innovation. It is generally agreed that it creates a culture of mediocrity and discourages people from striving for success.
As a Christian influencer, you are allowing yourself to be that tall poppy. You are putting yourself out there to be seen and targeted. People will try to pull you down accusing you of idolising yourself, bringing glory to yourself or making an idol of yourself for others to worship. People will say, see and think many things and this is why it is so important for you to be strong in your relationship with God. You need to be working to please God – and not people (1 Thess. 2:4) You need to have a solid foundation of faith and conviction that you are where you are because God has called you there, not for any other selfish or worldly reason. If you have those strong roots of faith in the Word, you’ll be able to stand your ground when the seasons try to weather you. Success can tempt you even to place your faith in your own skills or abilities, but the Bible reminds us, our confidence needs to be in the Lord.
“This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Being a Christian Influencer Will Force You to Face The Doubts in Your Mind
The hardest battles are usually the ones waged in your own mind, not those waged with keyboard warriors.
A Christian Influencer needs to be strong in the Lord. As the Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). We need to learn to face our fears and drive them away. With the help of The Holy Spirit, we can embrace the power God gives us to develop self-discipline and silence the lies of the enemy.
You know what I’m speaking about, right? Those lies that plague our minds.
These are some lies the enemy whispers to me. Do they sound familiar to you?
‘You’re not good enough’
‘You’ll never succeed’
‘You’re just a fraud. If people knew the real you, they’d never follow you’.
‘What happens when you gain a following and you slip up?’
‘You can’t carry that responsibility. You’ll mess up eventually and it will all be out in the open’.
‘Who are you to think you can lead others?’
‘You’re just a sinner. Remember when…’
‘God can’t use you’.
‘You’re not strong enough to carry this’.
‘There’s no way you’ll amount to anything.
‘You’re wasting your time’.
… Wow, these lies just rolled off my fingertips as I typed them. It’s clear they have been rolling around in my mind for some time, trying to convince me that I don’t have what it takes to do what God has called me to do. Maybe you feel the same. This comes back to my point about being a target for the enemy. The devil knows if he can stop you in your tracks, he is preventing a generation of followers from coming to know the Lord. One of his favourite places to wage war? In our minds.
If any of those lies outlined above is holding you back, can I encourage you to write it down in a journal and cancel it out with the Word of God?
The Bible encourages us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ:
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. “ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
If this sounds like something you really need to work on, I highly recommend Craig Groeschel’s book, “Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life ,” where he goes into more detail about how to take your thoughts captive and replace them with the Truth of the Word of God.
Being a Christian Influencer Encourages You to Shine Your Light.
Every time I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, it challenges me. He says,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
When I was a teenager, I was aflame for Christ. I’m 30 this year, and I can definitely say my light has dulled. I have really felt convicted many times in the past few years, I have been more inclined to hide my light. I don’t want to draw attention to myself, because I am told the attention needs to be on God.
This is one of those aspects that seems like a huge contradiction to me and this is something I have really wrestled with over the last few years.
Christian culture sends us the message that we need to play small so that God can be glorified. But the truth is, that God is most glorified in us when we are obedient to him, bold and brave in our faith. God doesn’t need us to shrink in order for him to appear mighty. He is mighty, regardless. Unfortunately, Christians are so quick to judge and so become afraid to act in any way that might draw attention to ourselves or our gifts. Jesus literally commands us in this verse to let our light shine before others, and yet we fear what people will think of us or we fear bringing glory to ourselves. Instead of using our gifts, we become like the man in Matthew 25, who hid his gift and buried it in the dirt. Do you know this story? I’ve heard this parable my whole life and then one day, in my mid-twenties, I read it again and realised, I was no longer the person who multiplied the gifts they were given, I was the one hiding my gifts in the dirt, hoping no one saw them. If you haven’t read it, definitely go give it a read. If you have read it, do you remember what happened to the guy who hid his talents? The master threw him outside into the darkness where there would be ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 25:30). Ain’t nobody wanna be that guy – just sayin’.
What a warning Jesus gives those who refuse to use the gifts God gives us. It’s truly sobering and worthy of contemplation.
Being a Christian Influencer Means that You Must Fear God More Than You Fear People
The crux of this whole scenario is the question – are we fearing God more than we are fearing man and the opinions of people? If God has called you to be a voice in the darkness, you do not need to fear the outcome and you do not need to fear what others may think of you.
I remember one time a few years ago, I was walking to the post office to post some orders for my business. I felt prompted to take a video and share it on my Instagram stories. I didn’t want to share anything. I didn’t want people to know what I was up to. I thought ‘What if someone sees it and is upset by it?’. I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘Is what they think of you more important than what I think of you? I am asking you to do this’. So I posted a quick snippet of myself walking to the post office with my stroller and my dog. Well, what do you know, I got this angry message from another mum I met who lived nearby saying, ‘So I guess you don’t want to go for a walk with me then? It’s fine if you don’t want to be my friend. Just tell me to my face. Legit!! I was like, ‘God, I told you I didn’t want to post that video!’. But you know what happened? Another person I met in that town was having an awful day. She saw that I was around at home that day and sent me a message. She came to my house absolutely bawling her eyes out. I was able to talk with her and pray with her. It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t post that video.
It’s a simple story, but it really taught me about the power of obedience. It has really challenged me to consider: ‘Is what others think of me more important than what God thinks of me?’. The ultimate test is, of course, obedience.
If this hits home, I’ve got a good Bible verse for you to mull over:
Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Being a Leader and a Christian Influencer can be Isolating
I’ve been putting off writing this last point because this is the area I am currently struggling with. When I first began my Instagram page ‘Trust in The Word’, I was already experiencing feelings of rejection from my church family. Later that year, my military husband was posted to another state and we moved into what would be 2 years of quite extreme isolation in a small country town during the most extended period of restrictions implicated by Covid-19. I really struggled to make friends, despite being quite apt at befriending strangers. I was very active online, reading the Bible on Instagram Lives and challenging people to believe in God. I have no doubt that many who met me in the park, but then saw my Instagram page were weirded out and wanted nothing to do with me. I had numerous unanswered texts. Literal ghosting, even from Christians. Perhaps my version of Christianity was too extreme for them or convicted them in some way about their own life. The truth is, that when you are living in Truth, it awakens the demons in others – and that’s not a fun time!
I cannot tell you how many times I cried while I lived in Sale, Victoria. Too many to count. I’d never experienced loneliness before and it was the worst feeling. Now, thanks to the Military, we’ve moved again. We’re in Darwin, which is a major city in Australia. We have found a wonderful church with so many vibrant Christian families. I prayed that God would give us friends. Friends who know and love God and friends with kids the same age. There are too many families to count that have children EXACTLY the same age as ours. One baby boy has the exact same birthday as my son! I couldn’t believe how God answered my prayers.
But now I feel like Abraham.
I was desperate for community. I suffered alone. And now I have exactly what I prayed for. But now that I have it, I don’t want to give it up. None of them knows about my work online, my boldness in sharing my faith or my effort to be a role model on the internet. To them, I imagine, I’m just a normal person who is good at talking to new people and inviting them to church and connect group.
I’m building my business at home at the moment and I have this direction I feel like God is steering me in. But I hesitate. My mind scatters:
What if they saw it. Would they still be my friend?
Would they think I am vain?
Would I become an outcast again?
Would they think what I am doing is ‘unBiblical’?
What if they laugh at me?
What if I stop getting invited to things?
What if they feel like they can’t relate to me any more?
What if they think – that I think I’m better than them?
Will they continue to support me as a mother?
Am I going to feel that immense pain of isolation and loneliness again if I step out and put myself out there online in this way?
Is it worth it? If it costs me friendship, is it worth it?
Imagine how Abraham must have felt. Everyone around him has children and he and his wife had none. God promises him the desire of his heart. He finally receives the promise and then God asks him to take his son Issac up a mountain and give him back to God. What anguish he must have felt! All those feelings of being barren parents would have struck him with immense pain. Fearing, he would go back to how things were. Fearing he would have to give up this son, whom he loved! And yet he obeyed God and trusted that he would provide.
When God tells you to do something, there is only one right response:
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(Isaiah 6:8)
Being a Christian Influencer Might Cost You Something
As followers of Jesus, we have to count the cost. We are called to take up our cross and follow him. Read what Jesus says in Luke 9:
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
If you want to be a Christian Influencer, whether online or in your community, you have to be okay with what following Jesus might cost you. It might cost you your home, it might cost you a close relationship with your family, and it might cost you friendships.
WHAT YOU FEAR, KEEPS YOU CAPTIVE. IF THERE IS ANYTHING IN OUR HEARTS THAT WE FEAR, IT’S AN AREA THAT WE HAVE NOT SURRENDERED TO GOD. WE HAVEN’T COMPLETELY ENTRUSTED HIM WITH THAT AREA OF OUR LIVES. FEAR MAKES US HOLD TIGHTLY, AFRAID OF WHAT WE MIGHT LOSE. FAITH ENABLES US TO OPEN OUR HANDS IN SURRENDER. As Job 1 reminds us, everything comes from God and he has the power to both give and take away.
What is holding you captive? What fear is holding you back? If you’re feeling called to be a Christian Influencer today, what do you need to surrender to God? Identify your fear for what it is and cancel it out with the Fear of The Lord.
I encourage you to spend some time now journaling and praying with the Lord.
In Christ’s love,