When you hear the word “influencers,” what pops into your mind? Are you mentally checking out familiar ranking sites on HypeAuditor, such as Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter to see who is currently trending? I browsed through the lists just to do a little research on this article, and I have to admit that I didn’t recognize many of the names on those lists.

Millions of dollars are spent each year by marketing firms to make sure that the products they represent are favorably endorsed by those names at the top of the lists. Influencers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They come from the fields of fashion, arts, sports, entertainment, and even business to name just a few.

Recently, I enjoyed watching a Netflix series that focused on a young American woman who finds herself in Paris working for one of those marketing firms to offer the American point of view for several French products that her agency had signed as clients. While she was a delightful person with an engaging personality, she didn’t find the French firm much interested in any of her suggestions or ideas about how to secure the American sector of the market. She came across as naïve and failed to see many of her own short comings, not the least of which was the fact that she didn’t speak French or understand French culture! However she began to have a following on her social media and the firm began to take notice.

Looking at all those names of top “influencers” made me wonder how they came to possess such powerful influence over others. While some have become influencers because of their talent as musicians, actors, sports personalities, writers, scholars, and giants of the world of industry or finance. Others seem to have gained powerful influence for just having been born into a particular family, such as the Kardashians, or the British Royal House of Windsor.

These influencers all have one thing in common. They have huge numbers of followers on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds that number in the millions and millions! I’m certainly not even on the radar in that respect. I have a few followers on Instagram and I can claim less than a thousand people who follow me on Facebook. So no one would call me an influencer. Yet that’s not what God’s word says.

The other day I was reading Jeremiah 15 and came across this verse which sort of popped out like a neon sign! Look at the second part of verse 19 in the NLT.

“If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you.”

What does it mean to influence others? It has to do with making an impression that brings about a change in actions, behavior or opinions of others. In the secular world, when someone is highly popular, others try to emulate them in any of a number of ways. So whom are we influencing? Are our voices being heard? Or are we afraid to speak?

Jeremiah had been given the assignment to speak to the people of Israel warning them of the captivity that was coming. His message was hardly popular. God was done with this stubborn rebellious people. In the first verse of this chapter he told Jeremiah, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I [God] wouldn’t help them.” Away with them! Get them out of my sight!”

Not the message that Jeremiah’s listeners wanted to hear. Because he spoke the truth, the people hated him. In verse ten he says, “What sorrow is mine, my mother. Oh that I had died at birth! I am hated everywhere I go.” (v.10) He goes on to remind God that it is for God’s sake that he is suffering, and that he doesn’t want to die young. (v.15) Certainly we have all felt like that at times.

What is God’s answer to Jeremiah? “I will take care of you, Jeremiah.” (v.11) God still had a plan for this young man that he wanted to see carried out. Jeremiah was to keep speaking to the people. He was to be an influencer! “Why then does my suffering continue?” Jeremiah replied.” Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.” (v. 18) Many times I’ve found that God has to gently rebuke me just as he did this prophet. We want to be heard and have our messages be approved and loved by others. We want to be accepted and feel a part of the “in-group.”

Here’s the thing though, when we choose to be on God’s side and speak God’s truth, our messages will not always be popular. We are also called, or summoned, by Him to be influencers. We are not to be on the sidelines, but down on the field contending for our faith and the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Is it okay to tell God we are feeling discouraged even as though our “seasonal brook has dried up?” YES! God is big enough to hear our complaints and not smack us down for having them.

The whole of verse 19 gives a clear picture of God’s love not just for Jeremiah, but also for each of us.

“This is how the Lord responds:

If you return to me, I will restore you

So you can continue to serve me.

If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,

You will be my spokesman.

You must influence them;

Do not let them influence you!”

Our nation’s current situation is not much different than it was at that time. We have been warned in God’s word that time is running out. This week I watched a movie with interviews from some great Christian influencers, such as Franklin Graham, Alveda King, Mike Huckabee, Mike Lindell, Dennis Prager, Eric Metaxas, and Sammy Rodriguez. [Trump 2024. The World After Trump, Why Would God Use Donald Trump?] The message was political in nature, but it showed me that if we are serious about being obedient to let God’s message get out that we need to speak up. We can’t just sit back and let the world’s view influence us. Just as God promised Jeremiah that he would take care of him, that promise is true for those of us who are believers as well. God will take care of us. We must do our part. We must be very familiar with what God’s word says, we must be armed with truth, and we must bathe our efforts in prayer.