God made us as women in such a way that we wield almost a mysterious influence over the ones our lives touch. We see this first illustrated in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:1-6, you will notice that Satan went straight for Eve—he didn’t approach Adam. No doubt he knew that Adam would not be so easy to convince or to deceive. Also, he knew if he got Eve to listen, she would take care of the rest. And she did.
There are two frightening things in this story. First, the Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:14 that Adam was not deceived. He knew that he was sinning against God—yet because of Eve’s influence and because he loved his wife so much, he allowed himself to be led into sin. He chose to stay with his wife and disobey God.
Second, in that same verse, the Bible also tells us that Eve was deceived—she believed Satan’s lie. Eve thought she was doing the right thing—and she could not see that she was influencing her husband to do something that was wrong—deadly wrong. Thus the first case of a woman getting her way and influencing her husband in a wrong way was borne.
I don’t know about you, but that is a scary thought to me. I could, by my influence, blindly lead my husband or my children into sin. I could influence them to do something totally wrong, something that would damage them. And then I would have to live with the consequences of my wrong actions.
Many times, we as women don’t seem to realize how we, through our action, our words, and our attitudes, are influencing the lives of those around us. But just think about it—in your own life, your family, your job, your friends. How has your influence helped or hurt those around you? If you doubt that you have any influence, you are kidding yourself. You know just exactly what you have to do at home to get your own way—whether it be sulk, cry, pout, yell, scream, or use the silent treatment.
God has given us a breath-taking responsibility. We, by our influence, will leave marks on those in our circle of influence: our husband, our children, our friends, our church family, our acquaintances in the neighborhood, etc. Will those marks be good or bad? Basically, it all boils down to this truth: if we are in control of our life, those marks we leave will usually be bad. If the Holy Spirit is in control, those marks we leave will be good.
Again, let me mention that most of us never think of the influence we are having in the lives of others. We just go about, living our life, and never thinking about the hurt we are inflicting on those around us. We forget that others are watching us, and we are influencing their lives for good or for bad. As Christian women, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day and live our life in such a way that will influence others for good.
I recently read a book by the woman who had directed many of the episodes on the radio program Unshackled. If you are not familiar with it, that program told true stories of men and women whose lives had been changed by Jesus Christ. This woman was in charge of interviewing the people for the program. She said of the 250 men and women she interviewed, 212 of those had been either hurt or helped by the influence of a woman in their life—a mother, a sister, a teacher, a friend, etc. She went on to say that in most of the cases, the influence was destructive. To me that is a very sad, but oh how many times I have seen it happen.
Some women are very domineering and strong. Some are weak and timid. Most of us are somewhere in between those two. But no matter what type of personality you have, whether you are married or single, old or young, your life has the potential to influence others for bad or for good.
Let me remind you again that others are watching our lives. As Christian women, we need to recognize this potential, and put ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ tells us clearly that we are to lose our lives for His sake. In other words, we are to be totally under His control. What difference does it make if you are controlled by Jesus Christ? It can make all the difference in the world.
In Galatians chapter 5, Paul gives us a description of what our lives will look like if we are living under our control. He contrasts that with what our life will look like if we are under the control of the Holy Spirit. Listen to what he says.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:16-23)
We find a similar list in Colossians:
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:5-10)
The works of the flesh which Paul lists here are things that will be in our life if we are walking under our own control, doing what we want to do. Most of those things are sins we would never ever consider letting in our lives—things such as adultery and witchcraft and drunkenness.
But notice some of the other ones: anger, envy, strife, covetousness, lies, malice, and wrong afffections. Too many times these sins and others like them creep into our lives and we just overlook them or excuse them. But they should be like red warning lights, warning us that something is wrong.
Paul says these things are manifest—they are clearly seen. It is very evident when we are walking under our own control and not under the control of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit is in control, the fruit of the Spirit is what will be seen in your life. It too will be evident.
So, if you are walking with the Holy Spirit in charge, what kind of a difference will it make in your life as a woman of God? In our next article, we will look at some different areas of our lives and how walking in the Spirit will make a difference.
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.