Influencer or Influenced?
I have been under the influence…Godly influence that is, my whole life — born and raised in a home by first-generation Christian parents. My mom and dad both were raised in religious homes but did not have a personal relationship with Christ until after they married. A college friend had been talking to my dad about Christianity and planted a seed. However, it wasn’t until the birth of my older sister that he opened his eyes, and he changed his atheist stance to an assurance that there must be a God! My dad gave his life to Christ, and my mom followed shortly after.
Being the second born, I have known nothing but Christianity. My parents took us to church every Sunday, and often Sunday night, Evangelism Mondays, Awana Wednesdays, VBS, and youth groups. They immersed us in a local church to learn and grow in our faith with other believers.
Yet, there comes a time in our life where our faith walk must become our own. Our relationship with Christ must become a personal priority. A significant step in my life took place in my young adult life when I was dating my husband. We had been going back and forth to each other’s churches when the opportunity to join the choir came about. Who knew that my love for singing and auditioning for a church choir would be a pivotal growth step in my walk? That’s when I met Pastor Dave.
Pastor Dave was a youth pastor and worship leader, but more than that, he had a heart for people, discipleship, and development. Pastor Dave had this natural ability to stretch and pull out gifts in people they didn’t even know were there. So after a short while of singing in the choir, he asked me to help some younger singers in the youth group. From there, he started to plant seeds of encouragement to step out and lead songs. He took time to teach me how to play chords on the keyboard and how to lead a team. From choir to youth group and eventually, I was trained to be the worship leader at the church. Dave and his wife, Jill, are an incredible couple that regularly opened up their home for breakfast on Saturdays, times of prayer, leadership teaching, and game nights.
These Godly influences made such a significant shaping in who I’ve become. If it wasn’t for my parents, I’m not sure how I would have come to Christ. If it wasn’t for Pastor Dave, I might not have discovered the gifts placed in me. Now I have been married for over 20 years and am raising my own family in the faith. My husband and I dedicated our children to the Lord and have committed to pointing them to Jesus. Some of the greatest joys have been praying with them for salvation, watching them be baptized, and there probably isn’t a Sunday that I don’t get a little teary-eyed watching my children worship and sing out to the Lord. We now are influencing the next generation of believers. Three generations strong!
Psalm 145:4 says, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.”
Each of us has a journey of faith of how we were influenced to come to Christ, and if I read your story, I’d learn who has been a Godly influence to you.
Matt 5: 16 directs us to “…let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do just that at a tennis class. When I arrived that morning, a person in the group was having a panic attack and difficulty breathing. The weight of the world had come crashing in on them from difficult life events all at once, and it was now physically taking a toll. Everyone was trying to help calm them down, but nothing was working. I knew that I was supposed to pray. So I asked if I could, and it was welcomed. Everyone came around as I spoke a simple prayer asking God to give them peace and calm their body. After the prayer, there was a visible change. They calmed down and started breathing more normally. We even were still able to have our class. This simple act of obedience and inviting God into the situation opened up a lot of unexpected conversation and thanks from the ladies I see every week. That’s how simple it can be, friends.
I believe our mandate as Christians is to make Jesus known and influence the world around us for Him. Whether in our schools, workplaces, churches, neighborhoods, families, or circle of influence, we each have a story to share and an opportunity to influence others.
Romans 12:1–2 in the Message translation challenges us with this:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walk-around life- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it.
Let’s accept the challenge to share and live out our Godly influence.