Jojo is passionate. She is passionate about God, her husband, her four babies, people, chocolate and all things pink. Jojo has been in full-time ministry for the last fifteen years; pastoring, church planting, training and itinerant speaking. She has served as Assistant Director as well as team-lead of a national, political social justice movement, called the MY Canada Association. She has pioneered & established the School of Dread Champions as well as the Jesus Feminist Movement. Jojo is committed to raising up a generation who will take hold of their true identity and live it out to the fullest. She is an outspoken advocate of social justice and living a lifestyle built on authenticity, vulnerability, courage, love and community. Two words: let’s GO!
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, what is at the core of our influence?
in·flu·ence – noun
The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something; the ability to cause a change in thought or action.
Influence is a sobering and sacred geography to abide in. We all have it. It’s a responsibility and a gift. Back in the day, I thought influence meant power, performance, platform and prestige. However, as sons and daughters of God, heirs of salvation and citizens of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, influence is actually a privilege and responsibility. And we all have it.
Can we gain influence?
Can we expand our sphere or our metron of impact?
Is it necessary?
Why is it necessary?
Are we accountable for what we do with it?
Today I want to present what I hope to be a paradigm shift for you.
I have had the privilege of standing on many platforms locally, nationally, and internationally, of speaking face to face with federal dignitaries of our nation and presenting solutions, of training and equipping leaders and pastors, of getting on my knees and looking into the eyes of little humans who are just beginning the adventure of life and speaking purpose into their very beings. I am a wife, a momma to 4 gorgeous babies (my favourite calling), a leader of movements and churches, but really, as women, what don’t we do? Lol. Wonderful. Many of us have had or have these opportunities. When did influence step in?
Along my travels, I stumbled upon a quote that induced heart palpitations, this wild faith arose in me and I knew I had ascertained a vital and valuable truth. This is that:
“Whoever has the most hope, has the most influence.”
All of a sudden, I realized the why. Why did I have influence? Because I have hope. Because everywhere I went, whether it was standing on a natural platform or a proverbial platform, my anthem would always be…
This is not where your story ends.
You HAVE a purpose, you are here on purpose.
There is ALWAYS a solution.
Your behaviour does not determine your value.
God loves you with an inexhaustible love.
You may run and hide, but Love will always outrun you and will be waiting for you when you’re tired of running.
There is treasure in that earthen vessel.
You have all you need.
Put your hand on your pulse. Feel that? It’s called purpose.
We can look around, watch the national or local news, overhear a conversation on the subway or local transit, or even face ourselves in the mirror, and know that we live in the best of times and the worst of times. Suicide rates have never been so high, anti-depressant and anxiety medications have never been more distributed and dispensed, our hospitals are full, therapists are working overtime, gendercide, trafficking, injustice, we truly see humanity making her best effort to cope with the ever growing void and hopelessness that has been given a voice, with a megaphone augmenting that voice. Why? Because the enemy knows that if he can pulverize our hope, he can dismantle our faith. To wipe out a generation and our faith or our potential faith in God, he’s going after our hope.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
If there’s nothing to hope for, there’s nothing to have faith for. If you don’t have a hope, faith has no job. It starts with hope. Hope is seeing something that can’t be seen (2 Cor 4:18).
So if hope and influence are basically synonymous, then the question to ask is, what is hope?
Hope is a confident expectation. It is more than a motivational thought or a fading daydream; hope is a nothing-is-impossible-with-God firestorm refusing to be quenched. It’s an awareness that God is actually expecting, looking and longing to show you His goodness. Hope is what stabilizes your frantic thoughts and emotions — it is awareness that there is no problem big enough to keep God from rescuing you. Hope is a positive expectation that something good is going to happen to you because of God’s great goodness. It is not a wishy-washy, vague, wait-and-see attitude, but an action we must choose to take on purpose each day. Hope also enables us to endure hardships and long waiting periods, and God uses these times to develop character and endurance in us. Hope dares us to believe, You know what? Things might just work out after all. It’s the sometimes unexplainable, but always undeniable, feeling that today would be a bad day to give up. It is an expected end, an impossibly possible destination.
People will respect you for your convictions but they will be inspired by your freedom – which is found in passionate hope, in what is and what might be. Your hope that you deal and dispense to others is actually an invitation to freedom and guess what? Everybody wants that. Ears perk and hearts are drawn to the voice that sings the song of hope.
These days, it is difficult to get people to come to church. It’s because they’ve lost hope. When their faith has nothing to do or doesn’t know what to believe in, they’re not hungry. If the one considering suicide who’s sitting next to you on a bus or the mother who’s children were just taken from her or the member of Parliament who sees no solutions or the young adult who’s failed that exam too many times to count. When they see hope in your eyes or hear hope in your narrative – game over. Your influence just paid its dues. We owe the world an encounter with the God of hope. We owe the world an encounter with Hope. Hope is man, His name is Jesus!
We owe the world an encounter with the God of hope. JOJO SMITH on INFLUENCE Click To Tweet
Lastly, and most importantly, where is YOUR hope? You can’t give from an empty flask. Do you know hope? We can’t speak with authority and influence nations if it’s all just theory to us. Do you know hope?
Do you feel lost inside the chasm of society-induced, culturally cajoled sameness or hopelessness?
Do you believe uniqueness and creativity live within you?
Do you know that your dimensions and textures and humours will never happen again on earth and that humanity is craving your expression?
What would it look like if you took a risk and dealt some hope today?
Do you have hope behind your eyes?
Do you have canyons of compassion carved within your soul that provokes you to move past insecurity and fear, to be a dealer of hope?
I see you sitting across from me and I’m telling you straight and in earnestness now: whoever has the most hope, has the most influence. If ever there was a time and space in eternity for hope to be dispensed, the time is now.
We are only going to be as big as our understanding of God. We can only give out as much hope, as we personally know. Your expression in life is anchored to your view of the Divine. Who do you believe God is? Who do you see when you look at Him? When you look at the stable, whom do you see? The weary world awaits your story of hope. When you look at the One who fed 5,000, who do you see? When you look at the cross, who do you behold? When you are alone, when you are in silence, do you feel the way He holds you? Do you hear Him whisper how He loves you? All of this matters because who He is to you will determine and inform everything else.
I see the One who was waiting for me when I got tired of running. I see the One who brought my daughter back to life when she was 3 minutes from death. I see the One who made blindness destitute in my child who now sees with perfect vision. I see the One who beckons me closer. I see the One who waits with me when I get stubborn and refuse to move. I see the One whose eyes were on me when He hung on that tree. I see the One who intercedes for me when I sleep. I see the One who freely gave to me when I was unworthy and depraved and disheveled from head to toe with no vision and rebellion in my heart. I’d rather hope for a lot and get half of it than hope for nothing and get all of it. Jesus is my hope. He is hope. How dare I withhold that message from a world that is longing to be influenced by the transformative and explosive power of hope? Freely I have received…freely I must give.
My hope is that you are ignited to fill the gaps and the holes of humanity with the One who holds all things together. The Kingdom of God is fiercely attempting not to be missed by you. His grace is positioned to redefine your everyday appointments and disappointments, so that you have a new narrative to deal. The stuff of earth is handmade to bend to the things we cannot see; the things that are eternal, the things like hope. We are learning alignment so that we can be catalysts to set the earth right. That’s why we have been given the gift of influence.
I’m inviting you into a paradigm shift, to follow the Spirit in the opposite direction that the world calls for you to follow – into the shoulda, coulda, woulda systems. Choose to be a dealer of hope and watch your influence increase and expand, but please, approach it with sacredness and sobriety.
Let’s go. Let’s choose to throw the whole of all of our hopeful parts at the world and watch heaven explode to earth like fireworks and the influence of the Kingdom of light and life and hope, influence and therefore transform culture and society, before our very eyes. To God be all the glory.
So go ahead, get your hopes up.
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with HOPE.”~ Romans 15:13