October 18, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Influence
by Luann Prater
Proverbs 31 Certified Speaker

Key verse:

But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.  Acts 13:50 (NIV)


Devotion

Have you ever noticed who the Jews recruited to do their dirty work?  They were God-fearing women of high standing. They weren't bums on the street or women found in the back alley, they were the women you find sitting in the church pews every week. They were you and me. Scary isn't it?

The power of influence...it's a wonderful and terrible gift. I grew up in a home very much dominated by my mother. I don't think it was a role she particularly wanted, but since my dad was out of town with his job, most decisions were hers alone. This influence was a double-edged sword. It taught me to be self-sufficient, but unfortunately, I am often unable to let go of the controls.

From the earliest examples in the Bible, women have wielded the power of influence. Satan used Eve because he knew she could talk Adam into just about anything. Our tongues are like a welder's torch. The fire produced can seam two unsuspecting pieces together, yet the slightest slip can pierce the strongest metal. Likewise, our influence can mend the brokenhearted, bond together unsuspecting lives, and bring unity to warring friends and neighbors. But if our words carelessly leave our lips, we can sever the strongest relationship, cripple self-worth, and kill the spirit.

How many times do we flippantly say something because it's the first thing that comes to our mind or because we get caught up in listening to the latest gossip? God has given us an awesome gift and praise the Lord; He's also given us rules to use it. In 1 Peter 3:4, He tells us to be 'gentle and quiet spirits' not because He doesn't want us to talk (thank the Lord), but because He wants us to think before we speak and act.


My prayer for today:

Father, teach me to be prayerful with my influence. Guard my tongue to only strengthen, encourage, teach, nurture exhort, evangelize, and disciple. Don't allow me to speak to others until I've spoken with You.


Application steps:

Carry a small notepad in your purse.  Every time you feel the urge to say something that hasn't been filtered through God's fingertips, write it down instead of saying it.  At the end of the day, praise Him for protecting your influence over others.


Reflection points:

What would my family say about my influence?

How have I injured others with my words?

What does God want to show me through this lesson today?


Power verses:

"The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue." 2 Samuel 23:2   (NLT)

"My lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies." Job 27:4 (NLT)

"Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget." Proverbs 19:11 (The Message)

"For the Scriptures say, 'If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies.'"1 Peter 3:10 (NLT)


Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/livinglife.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html