The Radical World Changing Power of a Woman’s Influence
by Angela Martin

Introduction:
What is a “woman of influence?” Who is she? Where is she? Just what does her life “look” like? There is a common belief that you are either a woman of godly influence or a woman of ungodly influence. The truth is many women who are followers of Jesus have probably experienced both sides of that spectrum. This week’s message was on how woman of faith can use their influence in their communities, nation, and throughout the world. It is all about making a spiritual difference by seizing the opportunities God gives every woman.

Something To Talk About:
Acknowledge our utter dependence on God: Have you ever unintentionally made your Declaration of Independence from God by taking over His job in your life? The maternal instincts take over and we try to run our family and our own life in our own strength rather than maintaining our dependency on God. It can happen subtly over time. If we are to be women of influence however, there has to be a dependency on God because there are so many challenges we face. No matter how strong a woman we may be, if God doesn’t show up, we are done. We must humble ourselves and acknowledge our need for God. It won’t be a smooth arc, there will be some missteps and some lingering tendencies to want to go on your own strength or be that independent wanderer. But God will be patient with us if we stay connected to Him.
Be aware of the opportunities around you: Women are in a unique position in a unique time to influence others for Jesus Christ. If we are sensitive to the opportunities God gives us it can be a real game changer. It is exciting to hear the stories of what God is doing through the opportunities He gives people at Northstar. Our prayer as a church is that we will seize and be grateful for the opportunities that we are given to make our lives, and the lives of those around us better. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Be intentional with our words and actions: So many things in our lives just happen – we don’t plan for them, we don’t anticipate them, we don’t even want some of them, they just happen. You can’t plan for every event, especially when you depend on other people. But if we are to be women of influence we need to intentionally manage the things we can control. Things like serving one another (Galatians 5:13), loving one another (John 13:34), praying for one another ( James 5:16), building up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and forgiving one another. (Ephesians 4:32) How would the lives of other people be affected if you became more intentional? As His people we also need to be intentional.
Learn to forgive: Forgiving others for what they’ve done to us is one of the most important aspects of being a Christian – let alone a human being. Study Luke 7:36-50, to see why Jesus tells us that those who realize they’ve been forgiven much (Him), compared to those who don’t see their need for forgiveness (in this case, one of the extremely self-righteous Pharisees). We need to forgive others and forgive ourselves. Without forgiveness in our lives we cannot be women of influence.

Questions:

  1. Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or family member? Would you share your story with the group and describe your feelings? What changes do we need to make to be more dependent on God in all things?
  2. How can we learn to be more sensitive to the opportunities around us?
  3. What does it mean to be intentional? How can you be more intentional in your life?
  4. What is your initial reaction to the concept of forgiveness? Do you react in denial, anger, self-righteousness, or judgment? Do you perhaps feel hostile toward the whole idea of forgiveness as a necessity? What characteristics in your life might indicate that you haven’t fully forgiven past hurts, even if you know in your head what you need to do?
  5. In what areas of your life do you wish you had more influence? Are there hindrances to you exercising your strengths? What are they?

Take One Thing Home with You
If you study everything the Bible has to say about being a woman, a definite pattern emerges. In the lives of all the individual women we read about, there was one theme running through the pages of their stories, one thing that all of these female characters of the Bible that we know so well had in common: Influence.

Think about Deborah (Judges 4-5). She stirred up a military leader to faithful action when he wanted to run away from a problem. She exhorted him to trust the Lord in the face of overwhelming odds. She was a true leader. She never made their success about her – in fact she pointed out the strengths of everyone else. To me that adds up to influence.

What about Esther (Esther 4-8)? She was planted in a pagan palace so she could influence a king to spare her people from ethnic cleansing. No military intervention. No revolution. Just one woman submitted to God. Another example of influence.

Don’t forget about Abigail. She was the picture of grace under fire, defusing the temper of a future king and intervening in what would have been an out-of-control conflict (1 Samuel 25). She spoke with wisdom, diplomacy, and skill. More influence.

These were ordinary women. Much like us, they probably didn’t feel like they had particularly extraordinary lives. But they all had influence. The question was how they chose to use it. Maybe you find yourself in the middle of interpersonal conflict like Abigail, or discouraged by the lack of progress or action like Deborah. Perhaps you feel stuck in a situation that seems hopeless, like Esther. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are a woman of influence. And the question for you and me is, how will we use it?