Who Is Influencing Your Life?

Who are the greatest influences in your life? Perhaps you have several—one influencer may excel professionally, another in raising children, another in hospitality and yet another in Bible knowledge. I am blessed to have a number of Biblical and earthly influencers who provide me with the stimulus to walk worthy of my calling (Ephesians 1:1-3).

Early in my spiritual growth I leaned that I could eliminate much spiritual and emotional turmoil from my life by examining the lives of the men and women who have “gone before me” and learn from both their successes and failures (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). May I share with you how the lives of three women provide a role model for us as we seek to impact our world for our Lord? Each offers character qualities for us to emulate as we think of being impacting our world for eternity.

 

Perseverance

One of my favorite Biblical role models is Ruth because she “gleaned” or persevered where the Lord placed her. Her life provides guidelines to assist us in daily persevering in the field to which we are assigned. May I share them with you?

  • Ruth persevered in the commitment she made to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18). Since there is no evidence that Naomi had personal resources it appears Ruth supported herself and her mother-in-law. As we glean are we as steadfast to go beyond the minimum work required of us?
  • Ruth’s work ethic was evident to all (Ruth 3:11). Does the quality of our work reflect our heavenly heritage (Matthew 5:16)?
  • Ruth chose contentment in her circumstances. There is no evidence that she complained about her work load, the weather, her peers, or her home conditions (Ruth 2:17-18). Are we content where the Lord has chosen for us to glean? Philippians 4:11 reminds us that contentment is an acquired character trait rather than a natural inclination.
  • Ruth listened to Naomi’s counsel and fulfilled all that she was physically able to do with excellence. She then had the responsibility to wait for the God to intervene (Ruth 3). Do we focus on completing our assigned tasks with excellence, listen to godly counsel, and then allow our heavenly Father to work out the details (Romans 8:28)?
  • Ruth’s rewards were earthly as well as spiritual (Ruth 4). She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5), became the great-grandmother of King David, and has a book of the Bible named for her. Will our gleaning generate earthly and eternal rewards (Matthew 25:21; Luke 19:17)?

 

Victor

HOPE FOR THE HEART’s founder and Chief Servant Officer June Hunt is a well-respected biblical counselor. Her ministry offers scriptural and practical hope through counseling, coaching, and insight into contemporary issues to more than 60 countries spanning 6 continents. Relying on her heavenly Father to deal with the personal pain generated by her family fashioned June’s heart to choose to be a victor rather than a victim when life’s challenges are difficult. The hurt she experienced in her childhood left her feeling hopeless until she entered a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Now those very experiences provide the foundation for helping others find strength in life’s storms.

Whether writing, speaking or singing, June Hunt is dedicated to presenting “God’s truth for today’s problems.” Through her life-transforming approach (inspired by Romans 12:2), June’s life teaches the truth that a changed mind produces a changed heart … and a changed heart produces a changed life.

When quizzed on how she accomplished numerous monumental tasks that includes working with youth, contributing landmark books to the field of counseling, and producing two daily radio programs she graciously shares, “my only ‘plan’ is one described by Henry Blackaby: “Watch to see where God is at work and join Him in it!”[i]

 

Zeal

Wife, Grandmother, First Lady at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies, author, compelling speaker, and gracious hostess Dorothy Kelley Patterson is a living model of Colossians 3:17 and 23. Zeal characterizes each action, project, and relationship she undertakes.

Dorothy, for over four decades, has focused her teaching ministry on the foundational question, “What is God saying to me about women?” Her practical application of Titus 2:3-5 in her home is supported by her academic credentials that include two earned doctorates. She straightforwardly shares that her theological education was prompted by her husband, Dr. Paige Patterson, who challenged her to complete the degrees so she could more effectively fulfill her helpmeet role, particularly in the area of woman-to-woman teaching. A woman who clearly demonstrates strength of character she concurrently models God’s special instructions to women.[ii]

Hospitality is one of Dorothy’s trademarks. Her statement in Practicing Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others clearly articulates her passion for loving friends and strangers: “Sharing what we have with those whom God brings into our lives, however briefly, ought to be a God-inspired mandate, which becomes a heart-impelled passion. Scripture commands it; the indwelling Spirit inspires it; every woman must find ways to express it by opening her heart and home.”[iii]

 

Pressing Forward

Having caught a glimpse of the character of the several influencers, perhaps you will consider probing the lives of others. As you do, remember that embracing godly character qualities often begins with an act of the will—that is, doing the right thing and then allowing your emotions to catch up with you (remember the book of Psalms is directed to our will, not our emotions). Combining studying godly role models with the instruction of the Psalms, will you purpose to pursue the assimilation of godly character qualities by modeling the mindset of other godly women who have impacted our culture? You might consider beginning your pursuit with the statement,

I WILL, LIKE . . .

Verna Birkey, choose to believe that “God is the Blessed Controlled of All Things” (1 Timothy 6:15).

Vonette Bright, trust God for salvation and live a life of total surrender (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, boldly proclaim God’s Word for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14-15).

Elizabeth Elliott, choose to serve those who mistreat me (Matthew 5:10-12; 43-48).

Elizabeth George, love the Lord with my entire being (Mark 12:28-31).

Carine Mackenzie, focus on being known by the Lord God rather than attempting to please people (1 Corinthians 8:3).

Martha Peace, transform my mind by renewing it with the Word of God and choosing to not be “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:1-2).

Edith Schaeffer, purpose to see God as the ultimate author of beauty in every aspect of life (Psalm 19; Romans 1:20).

Realizing that I cannot hope to emulate these role models in my own strength I will rely upon my Lord, for I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

 

A SPECIAL INVITATION

If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.

 

NOTES

[i] Personal interview, January 2014

[ii] http://www.dorothypatterson.org/

[iii] Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, Practicing Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007) ,15.


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