The Power of Influence
I am the product of influence…in fact my entire family is. I would not be who I am today if not for the divine ripple effect God set into motion through my mother.
My mother, Yvonne, grew up as an Air Force brat in a traditional Catholic family. She has many stories about growing up all over the country and even in England and Scotland. Her view of God was shaped by years spent in Catholic boarding schools. My mother has said to me on many occasions that she has trouble telling her testimony…her faith story… because it is not exciting. My mother’s faith journey might seem much more subtle than many others, but it is a profound miracle that powerfully shaped an entire family’s eternal condition…thanks be to God!
My mother grew up thinking that her eternal security was based upon whether or not she lived a life that would please God. Like many Catholics she had extreme reverence for God and Jesus, but her understanding of God’s love and grace was misconstrued. God seemed to be distant…he was only a holy judge and not a loving merciful father. She said that she lived in a constant state of anxiety wondering if she would be good enough. Her perpetual thought was, “It would be my luck that my bad would just barely outweigh my good.” This thought started a search for more answers. A search for God’s grace.
My mother became a Christian when my sister and I were very young. I have always remembered growing up in a Christian household. The gospel seemed to be ever present in our childhood. This was due to God’s grace and my mother’s faithfulness. I have always been fascinated with the difference in someone’s “faith perspective” when they come to Christ as an adult as opposed to as a child. My mother always had such urgency when it came to her faith. She never stopped pushing…never quit seeking God. Every day was a desperate pursuit to better know the one that saved her. She sought Christ like air. It was because of this example…this influence that I am a Christian today.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whomyou learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
-2 Timothy 3:10-17
Paul in his second letter to Timothy is giving him instruction in leadership and godliness. He just finishes writing that the world will be immoral and oppose the truth when he switches gears and writes, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra.” Paul celebrates that Timothy was following in his footsteps and did not fall into a life of sin. Timothy took notice of Paul’s concrete example of faith and godliness and patterned his life after him. Paul also writes in verses 14 and 15 that Timothy should “continue in what he has learned and firmly believed”. He urges Timothy to look at and remember who he learned these spiritual truths from (Paul himself, and his mother and grandmother). Timothy was the product of influence. Through God’s sovereign grace he had experienced and learned biblical truth from childhood and had the constant godly influence of others. This influence shaped young Timothy into a man of God.
I read this passage of Scripture and it makes perfect sense. This was what my mother did in my life. She was a passionate example of what a genuine Christian should look like. She constantly lived a life that said, “Follow my example.” Her impact went far beyond just me…because of God’s great power and His grace she also influenced my father, sister, most of her side of the family, and countless other women that she has come in contact with.
Where would I be without her influence? Where would our family be? We as Christians, leaders, parents, and family members have the incredible opportunity to influence others with the gospel. We can live lives that are overflowing with God’s grace and point directly to Jesus Christ. There is power in one person’s influence. Power to change another’s life…power to change another’s eternity.
I am the product of influence…my eternity was changed by its power.
Posted on October 14, 2011, in Leadership, Parenting and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Family Ministry, Parenting, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.