The Influential Woman

Ah, the influence of a woman. It has been known to cause cities to crumble (Joshua 2-6), and kings to cave (Mark 6). The power that a woman has to influence those around her is one of her strongest resources. And yet, some of us underestimate the amount of influence we have on those around us. We think our sphere of impact is small or contained to our children or immediate contacts and that nobody is really paying attention to how we act or react to certain situations. We sell ourselves short on our ability to influence the world around us. My mother would tell me growing up, “Sarah, we are all influencers. And while you can’t always choose who or where you’re going to influence someone, you can ALWAYS choose how!”

Last Sunday, my pastor was introducing a guest speaker, and he said something profoundly true about the man’s wife, “A woman’s faith directly impacts her husband’s ministry.” I sat there as that statement sunk in. A women’s influence is directly linked to the type of faith she has, and its impact reaches far more than she realizes.

The faith of a woman directly affects the atmosphere of her home and shapes the dynamics of her marriage.

We had a saying growing in our house. “If momma ain’t happy, there ain’t nobody happy.” With this one comical phrase we acknowledged the external impact a woman’s attitude had on those living around her. If she was pleasant and contented, the home was calm and happy. But if she was sputtering about something that really made her mad, the house was on edge and chaotic. Proverbs says, “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.” Why? Because the attitudes women have directly affect the atmosphere of their homes. If a wife has a worried spirit, a husband is going to feel the strain of that pressure. If a woman is nitpicky over every little thing, her children are going to learn that obsessive behavior and mimic it in their own lives. I remember hearing stories of my grandmother, who is now in Heaven. To me, she was a wonderful godly and praying woman, but I only knew her late in her life. My mother remembers a different side of her growing up, one that ultimately broke up my grandparent’s marriage. In her younger years, my grandmother acted like Delilah in Judges 16, “With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.” My mother recalls making a conscious choice to not be the woman described in Proverbs 14:1, who “tears her house down with her own hands.” But be sure, it was hard for her to break the influence her mother had on her, and it was something, ultimately, only God could do.

What type of environment are we creating in our homes? Are we worried women? Or are we like the woman Proverbs describes who, “When it snows, she has no fear for her household?” Are we living how we want or are we being women of wisdom like the woman who, “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue, who watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Our faith is being continuously influential on those around us. We can’t chose who or when our faith impacts them, but we can always choose how. How is your faith impacting your home?

The faith of a woman directly influences the direction of her children and grandchildren.

There’s no denying Rahab was a woman of great influence. Her faith in Israel’s God outshined even some of the Israelites. It was her faith that enabled her to go out on a limb and help the spies escape. It was her faith that threw the scarlet cord out her window in an effort to save her household. I don’t know about you, but I think if I knew the city walls were about to crumble I would suddenly develop an interest in camping…OUTSIDE the city limits! My stuff would be packed and I would be leaving…and I’m not so sure I would see the logic of hanging a scarlet cord outside my window in “hopes” that my house wouldn’t come toppling down with the rest of Jericho.  How THAT is supposed to keep my house from crumbling down with the rest of the wicked city, I’ll never understand. But this is what Rahab does, and her faith is evident to all. It directly affected the nation of Israel. It eventually affected her descendent, Boaz, who is a man known for his righteousness. And ultimately, it brought a legacy of faith for the generations that came behind her to follow after (Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). Rahab’s faith directly influenced the direction of her children and the generations of children that followed.

The faith of a woman potentially moves a nation.

In the grand scheme of things, it is unlikely that Esther ever thought that her life would amount to much. She was an orphan. She was Jew. She was a woman. Three strikes…you know the saying. Even though she was an unlikely candidate for national fame, she did have three things going for her. She was an orphan…with a wise uncle. She was a Jew…meaning that she was part of God’s chosen people. She was a woman…and a beautiful one, to boot. And what seemed to be her pitfalls in life, turned out to be the very catalysts that propelled her to stardom: Queen of Persia.

It is evident that she had faith. She listened and obeyed the authority God had put in her life (Esther 2:20). She fasted and prayed, and called on the nation to fast and pray as well (Esther 4:16). She stepped out in faith believing in God to take an impossible situation and turn it for His people’s good (Esther 5). Her faith moved the heart of a godless king to have faith in her as well (Esther 8:8).

While it’s unlikely you or I will ever have the chance to be the Queen of Persia, we must not limit the potential our faith can have on changing a nation for Christ. We never know what God wants to do with our lives. My father always used to say that if you knew everything God was going to have you do with the whole of your life, it would scare you half to death. So God takes us…one step at a time. Do you think Elizabeth Elliot, wife of martyr Jim Elliot, knew the span her testimony would reach when she first boarded that plane for Ecuador? Do you think Suzanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, was focused on the millions to whom her sons would minister as she nurtured them in the faith and admonition of the Lord? Do you think Katherine von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, thought twice about the reformation her husband would bring about as she sought to be an encouragement to him and a godly helper? No. I doubt any of these women were thinking about you or me when they set about doing the tasks God had given them. But the truth is, their faith changed a nation.

The question isn’t who are you influencing. For some of us, that answer is obvious: your husband, your children, your family. The question we must ask ourselves is HOW? How are we impacting those around us? How is my faith affecting those I come into contact with? Am I exhibiting a contagious type of Christianity that spurs others on to love and good works? Or am I exhibiting a negative attitude, a weak faith that only drains, discourages, and destroys?

It is true: we are all influencers. We can’t chose who we are going to influence, or when we are going to influence them. But we can always…always…choose how.

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