3 Ways to Influence the Most Unlikely People

by Lyneta Smith

Pop quiz!

Who said the following about the Most High God?

“How great are His signs and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion is from generation to generation.”1

Bonus points if you get it on the first try without Googling.




It sounds like something any one of these mighty men of faith would say, but instead it was one of the most ruthless and brutal leaders in the known world. He evoked fear and trembling over people from every language (Daniel 5:19).

The man is Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon, who underwent amazing transformation (Daniel 4:2). It never would have happened without Daniel, teenage captive who became top advisor to the world’s most powerful leader.

Daniel’s influence helped Nebuchadnezzar recognize the one true God above all others. Nebuchadnezzar honored God, whom he described as “being able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37 NASB*).

How did Daniel do it?

I believe it’s because of three unwavering characteristics:


Daniel was among the best and brightest in Jerusalem with a promising future there. Instead, he found himself yanked from his homeland and captive to a hostile nation.

Yet, he humbly committed to serving God no matter what. His obedience wasn’t contingent upon God’s blessing or the perfect circumstances. He obeyed because God is sovereign.

Wisdom from the Scriptures

We know from Daniel 9:2 that Daniel was a student of the Scriptures. He studied the book of Jeremiah to learn that the captivity would be for 70 years.

Even from the beginning, Daniel showed “intelligence in every branch of wisdom” (Daniel 1:4) and had “understanding and discerning knowledge” (Dan 1:4). His refusal to eat the king’s choice food, likely because it had been sacrificed to idols, showed stalwart devotion to God’s law.


No matter the crisis, Daniel’s first response was to ask God for help. When the wise men were all in danger of being killed because they couldn’t interpret the king’s dream, Daniel gathered his friends and prayed.

After a lifetime of faithfulness, the only way Daniel’s enemies knew to get rid of him was to trick the new regent, King Darius, into forbidding prayer to anyone but the king. Even then, Daniel chose to face the lions rather than stop praying.

Who’s your “Nebuchadnezzar”?

Our lives will impact someone who wouldn’t normally consider yielding to God’s will, either positively or negatively. 

  • Our influence will depend on our humility. (Are we seeking to obey no matter our circumstances?)
  • People notice wisdom and insight, even when they don’t recognize it’s from the Bible. (The fruit in our lives speaks louder than anything we could say.)
  • Like Daniel, when we pray, we see spiritual forces directly impact temporal circumstances. (Our influence begins with praying for those who haven’t yet recognized God’s sovereignty and made Jesus Lord.)

As we’ve seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s life, even the most unlikely people can praise God for His sovereignty. It’s up to you and me to be their Daniel!

1 See Daniel 4:34 (NASB) for a little help.

*All Scripture verses are taken from the NASB.

© Copyright 2017 by Lyneta Smith


Lyneta Smith is a writer, speaker, and Bible study teacher. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including multiple Chicken Soup For the Soul books and Clubhouse, Jr. She and her husband live near Nashville, Tennessee, with their mischievous Boston terrier and opinionated tortoiseshell cat. Learn more at LynetaSmith.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.




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Humility, influence, God’s sovereignty, 3 Ways to Influence the Most Unlikely People, Lyneta Smith

Comments (2)

  • anon

    Lyneta, your insights about Daniel are powerful and applicable to our lives. Sometimes fear hinders our witness for Christ. Your reminder of Daniel's devotion to Scripture and prayer illustrate how those practices yield wisdom and courage.

    Nov 16, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you, Jeannie! There are so many treasures to mine from the book of Daniel, especially his example of staying close to God in prayer. 
    I appreciate you reading. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Nov 16, 2017

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