Women of Influence

One of the manufacturers that we purchase from is really good about sending out weekly sales tips. (I've always thought that was smart on his part because it keeps his name in our inbox on a weekly basis.) And they are most helpful. He always relates real-life examples of sales situations and challenges us to learn from them so we will be more successful. For as many years as I have received his emails, he never fails to send out a series of questions at the end of the year that serve as a yearly checkup. The questions are meant to help one determine how they did that year, how they would like to improve and what strategies will be implemented the next year to improve business.

I've been thinking about how July marks the end of the first half of the year and the beginning of the second half. As Christians, we too need to "check-in" and see if what we are doing and where we are spending our time today are taking us in the direction of where we want to be come the end of the year. Reflecting on the year so far, I am reminded of the verses that God impressed upon my heart in January. I am grateful for how He is fulfilling His Word in my life and anticipating what he has in store for the remaining months of the year. But I am also challenged as I read the Word.

Earlier this week I read Iva May's post on Power-Hungry Women. She says, "That women have influence is a given. How women use that influence, however, is critical. Women face choices daily concerning the use of that influence. Will they choose wisely by walking in humility and surrender to the Lord or will they abuse that influence by choosing to walk in pride and insubordination?"

It's not a matter of whether or not I will be a woman of influence, but rather how will I use that influence? We have a lot of influence and on many different people in our lives. The enemy would have us believe that we don't matter, we're just not that important. But God's Word tells us differently and as I reflect on my Bible reading so far this year, I am reminded of four specific people that women influence. Our words, actions and priorities are always speaking.

1. We have influence on our husbands and our households by proclaiming God's Word.

Proverbs 14:1 speaks volumes to me, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." When things are not going so well at home, we can't blame our circumstances and we can't blame God. Proverbs 19:3 says, "The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the LORD." So then it is the foolishness of my own hands that tears my house down, and then I blame God. The imagery of your house being torn down with your own hands, and not those of another, is powerful. It reminds us of our responsibility to be wise women who build up our homes on the foundation of God's Word.

2. We have influence on
the young and inexperienced by preparing them for God's work.

King David said in I Chronicles 29:1, "'... My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.'" He goes on to list all the articles that he has prepared for the temple of God. God wouldn't let David build the temple because he was a man of war but said his son Solomon would instead. So David spends the remainder of his time as King equipping Solomon with what he would need to build the temple.
David gave Solomon plans, instructions and personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of God. What am I doing today that will last when I am gone? How am I preparing the next generation for God's work? Where am I spending my time and resources?

3. We have influence on our bosses and those in authority through prayer.

In Genesis 24, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. He told him that if the woman refused to leave her home, the servant would be released from his oath. The servant had definitely been impacted by his master over the years. Clearly those in authority have influence on those under them. But the servant also had influence on Abraham through his prayer in verse 12, "Then he prayed, 'O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham." We too can make a difference in the lives of those in authority over us: our boss, Bible fellowship teacher, pastor, and president. God uses the servant's prayer to show kindness to his master. Am I praying for those in authority over me?

4. We have influence on those who stand at a distance through our priorities.

Exodus 33 tells the story of God meeting Moses in the tent of meeting. In verses 10-11, it says, "As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent."

We know the people standing at their tents were watching Moses but they were also watching Joshua. So too, those who stand at a distance are watching us. What are my priorities? How do I spend my time? Joshua's priority was to be at the tent where God meets man face to face. Am I a student of God's Word? Am I living in the presence of God so those who are standing afar off can see the presence of God in my life?

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