Today is National Woman’s Day, a day when we honor women, but in today’s women’s devotional we will be talking about women in general and how they can use their influence in a righteous way that will lead the world around them to live up to the standards of God. This is mainly focused on women but the same basic truths also apply to everyone men or women.
Beginning in the Garden of Eden and continuing until eternity, the world has been drawn into sin by Satan. The only hope in the world is the fact that God sent His Son to bring about the forgiveness of sin. The message of the cross is made known by the influence and example of those who are willing to hear it and live for the Lord.
Today, more than ever, Christians should be using every opportunity they have to be a positive influence on society. If we take advantage of the doors that are opened to us we can make a big impact on our society. Though we may hear the cries of a radical feminist who is trying her best to taint the view of all women today, Christian women must recognize the positive influence that they can have on public morality. We must realize that it is our responsibility to help other women understand the importance of living a pure Godly life.
There can be no doubt that today’s society is plunging its head first. Crime is rampant. There never seems to be an end to drug and alcohol abuse. After a slight statistical dip, cigarette smoking is increasing, especially among younger and younger children. Gambling is being legalized by more and more state and local governments. Abortion and illegitimate births are spiraling upward. Television programming is filled with sleazy talk shows airing every kinky relationship imaginable and then some. Abnormal lifestyles are presented on prime-time “family” shows as if they are the norm. Educational systems are influencing our children to be more worldly. Marriages are falling apart, and children are out of control.
Is there an alternative to the declining standards and way to increase immorality or should we just shrug our shoulders and accept things as they are?
Obviously, we should not accept the standards of society, and the solution to the problem is Christianity. Our challenge as Christian Women is to rise above the world and allow the Godliness, virtue, and purity of Christianity to rule in our live. While men should be setting the example for other men, women must also set the example for living a moral life for other women.
Though our nation as a whole has lost its moral compass, it is not the first time this has happened. The Bible tells us of the fall of Adam and Eve, the pride of Babel, the corruption of Noah’s day, Sodom and Gomorrah, right down to the degeneration of the Roman society of the first century. As corrupt as the Roman society was, Paul managed to covert many from their wicked ways during their day and we can do the same today.
Throughout Biblical history, we can see how Women could influence a nation in a positive way or in a negative way. As women, so the examples I will be using will be the good and the bad women of the Bible.
Our first example comes from the notorious Jezebel who was possibly one of the most wicked women to walk the face of the earth. The details of her life can be read in I Kings 16:31; 18:4-13; 19:1, 2; 21:1-24. She was a murderous, selfish woman determined to have her own way and to wipe out God’s servants. The Bible has nothing good to say about this woman. . The New Testament says her name is synonymous with evil and treachery, as we see in
Revelation 2:20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Her name is used to describe a seducer of the saints.
Jezebel not only had a negative influence on her husband, King Ahab, but her evil ways also influenced her daughter Athaliah as well.
2 Kings 11:1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered; and they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. 3 So he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
She was so wicked that when her son, King Ahaziah, was murdered, she set out to have her own grandsons murdered in order to claim the throne for herself. Only through God’s providence was one of those children, Joash, rescued by Jehosheba, and her husband. They gave Joash proper rearing and later led a revolt that established him as King. Joash became one of the “Royal Reformers” of God’s people.
Like mother-like daughters, these two evil women had a negative influence on God’s people. If left unchallenged they would have done greater harm, but both of these women were killed. However, thanks to Jehosheba and her husband the one young lad Joash was saved and was raised in the way of righteousness and became the next king who returned the people back to the way of God. This example shows the difference our influence can have on a nation. The two evil daughters influenced the nation to be evil, but Jehoseba and her husband influenced the new young king toward righteousness, which influenced the nation to righteousness. So, do not ever underestimate the power of your influence as a woman.
Esther is another woman whose influence had a direct bearing on the outcome of one entire nation. If you remember the story then you know that she became the queen of Persia. Haman, who was a wicked man, tried to destroy the Jews that were in captivity. When Mordecai, learned of the plot, he encouraged Esther to inform the King of the scheme, saying to her
Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Like the courage of Jehosheba, Esther risked her life by going to the King without an invitation. She knew it was worth the risk to save her people and preserve the lineage that Christ would come through. Women should never think that they cannot make great changes in our nation because Esther shows that it is possible. Yes, we should all do our part in trying to influence those around us to live for God and His way. None of us should think that someone better than me can need to change things, instead, we need to remember what Mordecai said: Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
In the New Testament, we learn of Herodias in:
Matthew 14:3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. 4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
Here we have another example of how a woman used her influence to carry out senseless murder. Herodias was an adulterous woman who hated the preaching of God’s truth by John the Baptist. She found her opportunity to have him murdered when her daughter Salome’s dancing pleased King Herod. When he offered her daughter whatever she wanted, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, which ended the life of the forerunner of Christ.
While the Bible has many examples of wicked women using their influence in wicked ways, we also have many examples of kind women who used their influence in good ways. For example,
Lydia was a woman whose influence helped spread the Gospel of Christ in Philippi in the first century. The account of her faithful life of service as a fellow helper of Paul is in Acts 16.
Acts 16:14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
Lydia was a seller of purple – a luxurious dye affordable only by the wealthy – she had many contacts within her community. Though we are told specifically of the things she did, we can see that she opened her home up the Paul and Silas, and appears she also opened her home to other brethren as implied in:
Acts 16:40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
After being converted to Christianity, she was using what she had to help serve other Christians. Showing hospitality back then was very important. Though hospitality is not as needed today as was back then, it is still an effective way to show you care and concern for others and can be used to influence those you show hospitality to. So, do not neglect the opportunity to show hospitality to others.
Another great example of women being a great influence is Lois and Eunice. This mother and grandmother were a great influence on Timothy. This is what Paul says about them:
2 Timothy 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Timothy’s father was a Greek and most likely would not have taught him anything about the Jewish way, but his mother and grandmother made sure that he knew about God and what the Scriptures taught. Paul commended them for their faith. A mother and grandmother should never underestimate the importance of their Christian influence on the children and grandchildren.
We could consider many other women of Bible times whose lives affected the course of history: Eve’s fall to temptation, Sarah’s taking matters into her own hand and not waiting for the promised son, Rebekah’s deception of Isaac, Jochebed’s saving of her baby Moses, Deborah’s judgment of Israel, Delilah’s betrayal of Samson, Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi, Hannah’s rearing up of Samuel, Bathsheba’s sin with David, Huldah’s prophesying, Mary’s role in the Virgin Birth, the Samaritan woman bringing her townspeople to meet the Christ, Mary and Martha’s hospitality, Mary Magdelene’s taking the word of the Resurrection to Jesus’ followers, Dorcas’ generosity to the poor of her community, Phoebe’s encouragement of Paul, as well as the multitudes of others, named and unnamed, whose deeds are recorded in God’s Word.
We learn from all of these women to emulate their good and to avoid their evils.
It has been said that on average each of us has a direct influence on some 250 people in our lifetime. Obviously, those with more public lives will influence more people than will those who have limited contact with others. But, we never know who is watching us and is being impressed by the lives we are leading, whether that impression is favorable or not. It may be the checker at the grocery store who sees our attitudes when the lines are long. It may be another driver who sees how we react to traffic jams or by someone cutting us off. It may be the elderly neighbor who could use a hand with the yard work. Our paths constantly cross those who are “fruit inspectors” noticing whether our lives are filled with works and attitudes of the flesh or with the fruits of the Spirit which are:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Holy living does have an influence over the world. While it is true that each of us is only one person, together we are an army. If we each determine, I can be strong. I will not compromise that which I know to be right. I will teach my family. I will show kindness and deal ethically with others. I will put the Kingdom of God first and pray for all, then this world will be a better place because we all did our part in serving God and being the best influence that we could be.
I hope all of us will always do our best to live for God in word and deed and never use our influence as a woman for evil.