When the Kardashians and Jenners upload a sponsored product to their Instagram, it sells out almost immediately. Companies pay them six-figure sums to advertise their products to their millions of followers.
Dubbed the ‘Donald Whisperer’, Ivanka Trump, the billionaire’s unelected daughter with an official White House position, has huge political power – as Channel 4’s documentary Ivanka Trump: America’s Real First Lady? explored just last week.
Carter Wilkerson, a 16-year-old from Revo, Nevada, nearly broke the internet earlier this year when his #NuggsforCarter tweet became the most retweeted of all time – amassing 3.6 million retweets, and helping him secure a year’s worth of chicken nuggets from Wendy’s.
These people have huge influence. They’re role models to many, and idolised by many more. How often do we search for something online after seeing a celebrity wearing it, or give to a charity appeal because a celebrity in their advert caught our attention?
Sometimes these celebrities have earned their fame, sometimes it seems hereditary, and other times it’s just questionable!
How do we respond to all of this? And, as followers of Jesus, what role should we play? In a society where we idolise those who rise to fame, influence and power, it’s more important than ever for us as Christians to step up.
The Bible constantly tells us not to idolise things – including people – above God. It gives us numerous examples of positive role models and mentors: Jesus to his disciples, Moses to Joshua, Lydia to her household. It tells us to be mindful of what we put into our bodies (Philippians 4:8) and of what comes out (Matthew 15:11).
In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says to Timothy: “And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men and women who will be able to teach others also.”
So perhaps it’s time for a review – who and what are we letting have influence over our lives? Is it coming from a good place? If you don’t have one, do you need a mentor to help with what you put into your life?
And how are we in turn using that to influence others? How are we taking the things we have heard and learnt “to teach others also”? Again, if you don’t have this structure in place, is it time to find a mentee to help you feed into someone else’s life?
God’s instructions are clear: look at what’s going in and look at what’s going out. If it isn’t of Him, we need to change it.
So next time we look at the Kardashians on Instagram, and are tempted to buy pricey gold make-up brushes, or some far-fetched weight loss tea, let’s take a second to pause. What influences are going in, and what influences will follow coming out?
If you want to explore influence and multiplication as well as 7 other core principles of biblical leadership, come and join us at International Leadership Institute’s History Makers UK. This will be held at Regent’s College, London from 2 – 7 July 2017.