Here are fifteen biblical beliefs that will radically impact your thinking about others and then ultimately radically impact the people in your life from the chapter “Empowering Beliefs” from The Culture of Empowerment:
- Vision Beliefs About Others – “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13). The people in our lives have “things” to reach forward to. Every person is significant in God and has an important assignment from Him. Our vision for the future gives us purpose for the present. It means we are being prepared for something bigger (greater influence) in the days ahead. As we recognize this about those we are leading, we will find ourselves saying things like, “Where you are going, you can’t take that with you” (whether it be a tendency, attitude, or something else). We will focus on training them to be ready for this greater opportunity, instead of only trying to get them to be a good employee, a good Christian, or less of a problem to us.
- Hope Beliefs About Others – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). We are told not to let go of our confession of hope. This directive is linked to the relationships in our lives – “consider one another,” “assembling together,” and “exhorting one another.” “Exhorting” is translated as “encourage” in some Bible versions. Verse 25 tells us we are to increase encouragement as we “see the Day approaching.” Instead of becoming more cynical as we grow older, we are to become more hopeful of the good things in people around us. We are to believe they are one encouragement away from a tipping point in their lives – and we won’t encourage those we are hopeless about. It is important to know this: Our hopelessness for people we lead is usually a bigger problem than what the people are doing.
- Love and Compassion Beliefs About Others – “Then Jesus went about … healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:35- 36). Compassion and true concern for people is foundational to influence. We are not simply to get things done for people or through people, but we are called to emotionally connect with the dreams and needs of those in our lives. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:7). Outward accomplishments are meaningless without it. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13 says we are “nothing” if relational love does not manifest through us, even if we are doing supernatural exploits. This “love chapter” of the Bible is about how we interact with people, and one of the highest ways we interact with them is what we believe about them. “[Love] believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
- Solution Beliefs About Others – “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is one of the biggest hope verses in the Bible. It is an anchor verse to set others and us free from hopelessness. Two great truths are revealed that will radically upgrade our beliefs about the people we influence: 1) They will not face anything God has not equipped them to overcome, and 2) There is always “the way of escape” from where they are and into where they need to be. Say this out loud: “THERE IS ALWAYS A SOLUTION!” The people in our lives have a pathway to get out of crisis/dysfunction and a way to get into dreams/radical influence. This creates hope for them, which is a catalytic force for their empowerment.
- Encouragement Beliefs About Others – “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped …” (Isaiah 35:4-5). A well-timed encouragement from a person who believes his or her words are powerful can set off a chain reaction of supernaturally infused events.
- Prophetic Beliefs About Others – “As it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’ in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). God called Abraham by his future and invited Abraham to come into agreement with his future. Similarly, the angel unlocked Gideon’s destiny by calling him by his future – “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). Gideon, at the time, was certainly not living in a mighty man of valor experience, but his past didn’t define who he was. Empowering leaders become like the angel in the lives of the “Gideons” who are all around them. They learn how to not lock the people they lead into their past. They see them prophetically.
- “Benefit of the Doubt” Beliefs About Others – “Now John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side’” (Luke 9:49-50). “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). One way to decrease our empowerment of others is by jumping to negative conclusions about them – whether it is hearsay information we hear or a judgment we have about their motives. We tend to judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions. It will serve us well in life and leadership if we give people the benefit of doubt and ask good questions before making a conclusion that might not be true.
- Association Beliefs About Others – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). A culture of empowerment has the potential of bringing a marvelous upgrade to the people who associate with it. The disciples astounded the elite people of their day because of their having “been with Jesus.” Catalytic influencers will develop the belief system that it is impossible for people not to be changed when they associate with them.
- “Faith Comes by Hearing” Beliefs About Others – “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). If people are going to live at a higher level, they must believe at a higher level. If the are going to believe at a higher level, they must hear truth at a higher level. Empowering leaders know speaking God’s promises will increase the faith of the people in their lives. There is no such thing as a strong, silent-type leader.
- Forgiveness Beliefs About Others – “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34). Jesus spoke forgiveness on the cross. Stephen did the same in Acts 7:59 when he was being stoned. Their forgiveness created an open Heaven over others to become saved (the 3,000 in Acts 2 and Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9). Our intentional forgiveness is a mighty spiritual weapon, which increases the likelihood of advancement and breakthrough in the lives of those we influence.
- Restoration Beliefs About Others – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Empowering leaders see beyond people’s failures and sins, and see who they really are. They have a heart and skill set that restores people back to wholeness and influence. They believe that under their leadership, people regularly get restored to their original design and purpose.
- Saint Beliefs About Others – “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new … For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (1 Corinthians 5:16-21). The Christians we are leading are saints, not sinners. We are not to regard them “according to the flesh.” If we believe those in our life are sinners (prone to sin), then our beliefs about them will be less empowering. If we believe they are saints (prone to do right), then these positive beliefs will create empowerment for them.
- Testimony Beliefs About Others – “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). Somebody else has overcome the same situations that those around us are facing. As we focus on and share the testimonies of these victories, our hope of victory for ourselves and those we influence increases. This hope ultimately brings greater empowerment in our relationships.
- Nothing is impossible” Beliefs About Others – “So He asked his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:21-24). The boy’s healing and deliverance was not dependent on God’s willingness (He’s willing), but the father’s beliefs had a lot to do with whether the son would be empowered into freedom. The father “got it” and asked for divine help in believing for a “nothing is impossible” belief system. Our beliefs in a supernatural empowerment to freedom for those we influence will have a bigger influence than we might think.
- “Golden Rule” Beliefs About Others – “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). How do you want others to treat you? How do you want leaders to think about you? How do you want the influencers in your life to treat you? Do this for others, and you will most likely be a very empowering leader.
The above beliefs are not just about the people in our lives, but they are also how God sees us. We suggest you take each of these beliefs and meditate on them as the way God believes in you. We cannot consistently do what we don’t believe we are, so renewing our minds with these truths will empower us to do what we never thought we could do.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.