At a recent training session at work, we watched a video that I found so compelling that I had to write about it. The video was a Ted Talk called “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. The speaker’s main assertion in the video is that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” It was a claim that he backed up with all kinds of prominent examples, of which the most notable to me was Dr. Martin Luther King. In this example, Mr. Sinek explained how Dr. King drew so many people to follow him by simply stating over and over again what he believed, which was essentially his why. The speaker went on to explain how Dr. King’s message was NOT that we had to have equality, which was the “what.” The message that Dr. King spoke about over and over was his belief that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man, and that true justice could only occur when the laws of man were aligned with the laws of God. Mr. Sinek even went on to explain how Dr. King’s most famous speech was the, “I have a dream” speech, not the “I have a plan” speech.
I started thinking about how this principle relates to us as ambassadors of Christ. What I settled on is that, as Christians, we motivate people to change by focusing on the “who”, not on the “how”. As Christians, we should be talking about things like plans and strategy. We should be giving people practical ways of how to overcome struggles and be more like Christ. However, these strategies, which I would say fit more in the “how” category, should absolutely be supplemental to instilling in them “who”. “How” becomes futile if the “who” is not established.
First and foremost, people need to know WHO Jesus Christ really is. They need to know that Jesus isn’t just some special man who came to tell us how bad we are at life and to get our act together. Jesus is God in the flesh who came to die for you and me, so that we would no longer have to be bound and held back by sin. He loves us furiously and unconditionally, despite all the mistakes we have made and sins we have committed. It doesn’t matter how broken we are, He still accepts us and wants to fill our lives with purpose and joy! Isn’t that much more powerful than telling people, “You are so messed up. You need to get your act together and quit all that sinning you are doing or God is going to punish you!”
Secondly, people need to know “who” they are because of what Christ did. His sacrifice literally opened the door for us to become sons and daughter’s of the creator of the universe! As followers of Christ, we are coheirs with Him! The same Spirit that raised Him from the dead lives in us, and He has commissioned is to literally bring Heaven to earth. Just look at some of the things that God’s word says about us:
1. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37)
2. We will do the works that Jesus did and even greater things (John 14:12)
3. We have authority to heal and drive out impure spirits (Matthew 10:1)
Isn’t it more empowering to hear and read these scriptures about who we are and the power we have been given, than it is to hear someone telling us all about how we need to do X, Y and Z before God can use us?
I am not saying that the “how” is not important, because it is, but the “who” is the foundation. The “who” is where the empowerment comes from to carry out the “how.” Just like people aren’t going to buy the “what” until they know the “why,” they are not going to apply the “how” until they know the “who.”