I’m not talking about physical attraction. I’m talking about people being drawn to the life you lead and the presence that you carry.

To change culture, we must be people of influence, and influence is about attraction.

Think about the ministry of Jesus. He attracted people that were hungry. But He also attracted people that were on the edges of society – the demonized, prostitutes, thieves, the social outcasts.

These were people who were deeply under the grip of sin, yet they fought to be near Jesus.

The man from the Gadarenes was full of demons, but He ran to Jesus. Zacchaeus was a corrupt government official, yet he climbed a tree so he could get the attention of Jesus.

The worst of the worst were attracted to Him.

Why?

Because Jesus valued people.

He ate with sinners and spoke into the destiny of thieves because He saw the potential within them. He didn’t ignore sin, but people still came to Him because His corrections were rooted in love and inclusion.

Why is this so important?

In the current social climate, it’s really easy to pick sides and create dividing lines.

We’re right and they’re wrong.

But here’s the thing – Jesus didn’t commission us to prove to the world that we are right. He sent us with a mission to change our culture into one that reflects the values of Heaven. We’ll never do that when we’re perceived as angry and judgmental.

Remember, influence is about attraction.

So how do we develop spiritual attraction?

 #1: We must genuinely value people – even the ones that we disagree with.

When we take a hardline approach, it shows how little we value people.

I’m not saying we compromise our values. Jesus never did that, yet He included people that were far from holy in His daily life.

There were no dividing lines.

The people around Him didn’t feel like He was spending time with them because He had an agenda. They knew His actions were genuine.

Bottom line: we need a heart for people, not agendas.

#2: We need to worry less about strategy and more about cultivating His presence.

Strategy isn’t enough. Winning a political battle won’t make things better. Dynamic social projects won’t move the needle.

It’s the presence of God that changes things.

Charles Finney led a movement in the United States in the 1800’s that captured the hearts of people. One of my favorite stories about Finney involves a visit he made to a factory in Utica, NY. Here is Finney’s description of what happened:

I went to the factory to walk through it. As I went through, I observed a great deal of agitation among those who were busy at their work. On passing through an area where a large number of young women were weaving, I observed one women eyeing me, then making a comment to her neighbor. They both laughed. I could see that they were quite agitated by my presence. I went slowly toward them, with sorrow filling my eyes. As the one woman saw me coming, her hands trembled so that she could not do her work. I approached slowly, looking and acting like I was interested in the machinery on each side. This girl grew more and more agitated…trying to calm herself, she looked out the window. When I came within eight or ten feet of her, I looked solemnly at her. She sank down to her knees and burst into tears. The impression caught almost like gunpowder, and in a few moments nearly everyone in the room was in tears. The feeling spread throughout the factory. The owner of the factory said, ‘stop the mill, and let the people be attended to…it is more important that our souls be saved that that the factory run.’

He didn’t say a word. He didn’t make his case.

But he did carry something that created a reaction.

Friend, if we are going to change a nation, we need to be so full of His presence that people long to be a part of what we are doing.

The challenge is that it’s much easier to come up with a “Christian” strategy than it is to do the work of cultivating His presence. It takes time and it seems counterintuitive to our “get things done” mindset.

But people aren’t looking for a better strategy.  They’re looking for something that touches the deepest places in their hearts.  They’re looking for His presence.

 What can you do?

  1. Take time to consider your motivations: Do you have God’s heart for the people you are trying to impact? If not, begin to ask Him to show you what He sees.
  2. Begin looking for ways to speak life into people:  People respond to hope.
  3. Evaluate your attraction level:  Are people drawn to you or pushed away? Are you opening doors or building walls?
  4. Seek God for a deeper level of His presence: He is the divine attraction that people will respond to.

When we become carriers of His presence, we will begin to impact our cities in ways that our projects and political agendas will never accomplish.  When we walk in genuine love, despite our disagreements, people will notice. Remember, every day you and I present a picture of Jesus to the world around us.

Are we sending the right message?