by Brittney Chan
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
I Timothy 4:12
A few weeks ago, I posted about the importance of the things we allow to influence our lives. You can catch up on it here if you’d like…
I’d like to continue with that train of thought: A discussion on influence is easily two-fold. Not only must we be mindful of what impacts our own lives, we should also consider the lives we influence.
No matter who you are, or what point in life you’re at, there is always a sphere of people that you will have an effect on. We could all consider ourselves to be a leader in some form or another. What you do matters to the people who are watching you; whether it’s a child, a spouse, a friend, a coworker…the list goes on. Consider the signs of influence in the story of the Israelites’s journey through the wilderness…
It began when Joseph reunited with his estranged family in Egypt. Because Canaan had been experiencing a famine, the Israelites chose to relocate to a land where they could prosper. And that’s exactly what they did...for a little while. When God’s people started multiplying, Pharaoh felt like they threatened his authority and decided to enslave them. This bondage continued for years...and you know the story: Moses grew up and God used him to finally deliver His people. They wandered in the wilderness for another 40 years until they were able to return to Canaan. The time that lapsed between when they first left the Promised Land to when they returned was 430 years.
Four hundred and thirty years. That is a long time. So lengthy, in fact, that the generation who originally left Canaan was most definitely not the same one that returned to it. Children aged to become parents and this cycle continued on for years through Egypt, into Goshen, on past the wilderness into Kadesh and then finally to the Promised Land.
What a responsibility it was to keep the hope of a better land alive and well in the hearts of the following generations.
Those parents had to know that children were watching how they lived in the wilderness. Were they faithful to God even when life wasn’t what they wanted? If the baton fell at any point during those years, they risked never making it back home. So they had to carry on. The parents had to be sure that they instilled the truths of God’s Word and His Laws in the hearts of their children; even when they were being chased into the Red Sea or seemingly roaming around in the middle of nowhere.
Each influential person had to have a faith that was personal, persistent and purposed in order to make sure that they were impacting others in the right way and the same is true in our lives today.
We must first have a personal walk with God that provides an intimate experience so that we are grounded in His ways. A person has to take care of themselves before they can start to reach out to others. Then we should strive to have a persistent walk with God that shows the world that our trust is in Him. But influence doesn’t stop at being an example of good Christian. Finally, we have to have a purposed walk with God that allows us to reach out to others with love and instruct them in how to live a holy life.
It’d be great if I could tell you that the Israelite people remained 100% faithful to God during their wilderness years, but the Bible tells otherwise. There were times when fear of the future overcame their faith. They stumbled a time or two (which is probably why returning to the Promised Land took so long), but the mercies of God never failed to provide the restoration they needed. Maybe you feel like you can relate to the children of Israel in that way and you know there are areas of influence that you could improve in. Just as God was faithful to fulfill His desires in the Old Testament, He remains true today to do the same for you.
We can all do at least one thing…and that’s better.
Show us the people in our lives that we are impacting and let us be prompted to represent Your kingdom well to them. Forgive us if we have failed to put forth our best effort and give us wisdom to carry on in the ways that honor You most.
In Jesus’s name,
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