As a Christian, one of the greatest compliments you could ever receive is that you are a people person. We need to learn the skills to be a people person because God is a people God. John 3:16 (KJV) says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Something happens to us when we fill ourselves up with the love of God. It runs over from us to other people, and we can’t help but desire to expand our circle of influence and our circle of love. As a matter of fact, you can’t love God and be full of the things of God and not love people. The simple truth is, if we are going to have influence, we have to learn to relate to people. Being a people person is the key if we are really going to impact the world.
Matt. 9:10 (NIV) says, “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with Him and His disciples.” Tax collectors and sinners were drawn to Jesus and were comfortable enough to want to sit and dine with Him. And yet, these were not the type of people that were accepted by the religious people of that time. Jesus had what we would consider charisma or “drawing power.” John Maxwell defines charisma as the ability to draw people after you. The Bible says that we should let our light shine so others will see our good works, and then they will glorify our Heavenly Father. People will be drawn to us and come to Christ. We may not have been born with charisma, but we can learn to develop it just like any other skill.
Let me share some keys with you that will cause you to increase your people skills and give you access to influencing other people’s lives.
Key No. 1 – Love life A major step that will help us become a people person is to love life. We have to make a conscious decision that we are going to enjoy life and not just go through the motions. We decide to be happy and full of joy. If you let a situation or a person upset you, you are giving your joy away. We are saved, our sins are forgiven, and God has given us a vision and hope. This should make us the most excited people in the world! When we are excited, it gets other people around us excited. Eccl. 3:12-13 (NIV) instructs us that “…there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all this toil – this is the gift of God.” The Lord dealt with me on this several years ago, and He encouraged me to enjoy myself, my family and all of the good things He has given me. If we are going to reach people we need to have joy. No one wants to be around a person who is unhappy or someone who takes his or her self too seriously. If we are doing this, then we aren’t enjoying our salvation and the blessings God has given us. If anyone should be having fun, having a good time and enjoying their lives, it should be Christians. We need to quit taking ourselves so seriously and laugh at ourselves more. Our motto should be, “Take this life and love it.”
Key No. 2 – See each person as valuable Another key to becoming a people person is learning to see every person as valuable. We need to see each person with the same potential that God does. When we meet someone for the first time, regardless of how their appearance is or what their background is, we need to see a “10” right on top of their forehead. We need to learn to look at people through “Jesus contact lenses” and see people’s hearts, not their outward appearance. People desire to be accepted, and this will cause people to dress differently or act strangely in their search for acceptance. This is what 1 Corin. 12:21-24 (NIV) says about us:
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that can’t be presented are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.”
Not only are we important to the plan, but we are necessary and essential. Will Rogers said, “I never met a man I never liked,” and we need to realize that God never created a person he didn’t love. No one is a mistake or an accident. We never know what kind of people we are going to bump into during our journey. The way you see people is the way that you will ultimately treat people. And you can also tell a lot about a person, or their motives by the way they treat people. Do they treat everybody as if they are important, or do they only treat the people that they feel can advance them as important? We need to learn to treat people in the way that we would like to be treated. Matt 7:12 (NIV) says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.”
Key No. 3 – See yourself as important Not only is it important to see others as valuable to God and His kingdom, but we also need to see ourselves as a “10” and learn to be comfortable with ourselves. We have to love ourselves before we can love others. If we get under condemnation and can’t get along with ourselves, then we can’t possibly get along with others. Jesus didn’t come to this world with condemnation, and we shouldn’t either. Jesus came with good news. If you fall, get back up again. You’re going to get there. You can’t do anything about your past. You just have to get up and get on with your life.
Religion will cause people to become isolated from the world. It’s true, we do need to act differently and talk differently because we are different, but we shouldn’t shun the people outside our religious “bubble.” Don’t be so religious that you look down your nose at other people. Get out of the four walls of the church and strive to reach the “unchurched.” We can overcome evil with good.
Key No. 4 – Be an encourager To be a people person, it’s essential that you be an encourager. The Scriptures are encouraging and we should be as well. The most influential people in the world are masters of encouraging those around them. If you want to be built up, build up someone else. People operate much better in an atmosphere of encouragement than in an atmosphere of criticism. Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager, instructs us to catch people doing something right! Don’t fall into false flattery. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Always keep your motives for encouraging someone pure. If your love for people is only motivated by what you can get out of them, you will not succeed, and you will never accomplish what the Lord has placed in your heart.
God has given each of us the ability to release grace into people’s lives by the words of our mouth. Eph 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” God considers edification necessary.
Key No. 5 – Be interested If we really want to impact others, we need to become sincerely interested in them. How many times have we asked a person how they’re doing but not really listened to what they said? Genuine interest will remove the barriers and will earn us the right to be heard. It is imperative that we become good listeners. James 1:19 (NIV) says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
People will receive from you much easier if you will smile more. You can tell a lot about a person’s countenance by their facial expressions. A smile can change the atmosphere in an entire room. But it has to be sincere, genuine and from the heart. It will always make it easier for people to receive from you when you are excited to be around them. Take time out to notice people. Walk, don’t run through life, and be aware of the people around you.
When we get our eyes off ourselves and begin looking at the people around us, we will be taking a step towards true joy and true spirituality. Don’t forget who you are in Christ or where you came from. I dare you to get full of the love of God and not love people. Step out of your comfort zone and begin to love people like never before!
For more information on Eastman Curtis visit his website at: www.eastmancurtis.com
Devotional used with permission of Author