Modern-Day Influencer

Craig GroeschelBy Craig Groeschel9 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow by Craig Groeschel


When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.


If you’re Superman, and Lois Lane is in danger, no one has to tell you, “Now is the time to go into the phone booth and remove your suit and glasses, then burst out in your spandex and fly to her—you do remember you can fly, right?—and rescue her.” No, Superman knows to do all of that ’cause he’s Superman.

An example that’s closer to home: Because I am a pastor, people always ask me to pray whenever there’s a time to pray. “We’re going to eat? Craig’s here! Craig, will you pray?” “Someone is sick. Craig, you should pray.” “Our football team’s down by two points with one minute left? Craig’s here! Craig, pray for a miracle comeback!” I’m not sure I should always be the one who’s asked to pray, but I’ve never said, “Pray? Wait. What? Now?!”

I know who I am, so I know what to do.

I imagine if a plumber is at a party and someone comes screaming out of the bathroom, “The toilet is overflowing! The toilet is overflowing!” that plumber will burst into action. Why?

When you know who you are, you know what to do.

So who are you?

Remember Jesus says you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

That’s who you are. You are salt. You are light.

When he said those words, people considered salt the second most important commodity on earth. The sun was number one, as it was the source of light. Salt was number two because of all it could do, especially in an age before refrigeration and other modern conveniences.

In ancient Rome people were often paid for their labor in salt. That’s where we get our phrase “He’s not worth his salt.”

Jesus says, “You are salt.”

What does salt do?

First, salt preserves. It keeps meat from rotting. As Christians we should have a preserving influence in the world. We represent the kingdom of God and his holiness by our good, pure lives.

Second, salt heals. Maybe you’ve had a sore in your mouth and gargled with salt water so it would get better. Salt speeds up the healing process. In the same way, God sends us to bring healing to people who have been wounded in life or hurt by religion.

Third, salt creates thirst. Bars often serve free peanuts or pretzels because their salt makes you thirsty, and so, in theory, you’ll order more to drink, which will drive up your tab. Dasani bottled water contains salt. Sure, it’s a mineral, but it also makes you want more water. Salt creates thirst. As a Christian, when you’re full of God’s love, you will create a divine thirst in other people. They’ll ask, “What is it about you? Why are you so full of joy? I want what you have!” Salt creates thirst. Jesus says, “You are salt.”

He also 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” (Matt. 5:14–16).

Jesus said those words long before the discovery of electricity. At night it would be pitch dark, so they would light a candle. Without lighters or matches, this was not easy. If the family left the house, they would place a bowl upside down over the candle to protect it from going out while they were away. A little hole in the bottom of the bowl would allow the fire to breathe so it would keep burning. But you’d never put the bowl on top of a candle when you were in the house. You need the light!

Jesus was telling his followers, who would always live in a dark world, never to cover their light. He was helping them understand they could live a life others want.

As light, you are an influencer.

God wants you to effect change in people as you point them to Jesus.

That happens as you are salt and light. The world needs salt because it is impure. The world needs light because it is dark.

Because you are a light, you don’t run from the darkness, you shine in it. Remember, darkness exists only in the absence of light. When it’s bedtime, no one says, “Would you mind turning on the darkness?” No, we say, “Please turn off the light.”

Because you are salt, you don’t run from the impurities, you cleanse them, and God uses you as an agent of change as you set an example of purity, which creates thirst in others.

Sometimes Christians will say, “I don’t feel like salt. And I don’t feel like light.” I get that, but it doesn’t matter. Because if you follow Jesus, you are salt and you are light.

They might respond, “Well, I guess maybe if I learn the Bible better, I’d be able to answer people’s questions . . .”

No. Most people don’t care how much you know. They just want to know how much you care.

Jesus made that point in the parable of the Good Samaritan, as the priest and the Levite ignored and avoided the injured man. The “regular guy,” the man the priest and Levite would have looked down on, was the only one who cared enough to stop and help (Luke 10:25–37).

You are salt. You are light. And when you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. How you love, how you care for people, flows out of who you are.

It’s time to be salt and to shine your light. When you do, people will notice. They will “see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Taken from Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow by Craig Groeschel. Copyright © February 2024 by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan,

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