By Vida Earnshaw                             

Childhood Idyll by William-Adolphe BouguereauEveryone has influence.  Often we forget the tremendous influence we have as daughters.  Everyday we have the opportunity to make our home either a blessed or wretched abode.  For instance, when we get up each morning we choose the attitude we will display when we meet the rest of the family.  If we choose a fleshly, self-centered attitude — speaking disrespectfully to our parents, arguing and dragging our feet at the tasks they give us to do, being unkind, mean and bossy to our siblings — our home will be filled with anger, hatred, and strife.  Our anger gives Satan a foothold (Eph. 4:27), polluting the atmosphere of the entire home.  

On the other hand, if we choose to embrace our calling to be sweet, submissive, godly daughters and sisters — honoring and obeying our parents and loving our siblings, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) — our home will be full of peace and happiness. 

We have the potential to influence our home for good or evil every day.  This is especially true for the firstborn in each family.  Firstborns are often the targets of special Satanic attack.  Satan knows the great influence the firstborn carries and does all he can to lead that one astray, knowing that the others will likely follow.  I have seen this tragically played out in several families.   The oldest children chose to rebel, live promiscuously, etc., and one by one the younger children are following in their steps.  Satan works destruction and heartache on entire families by targeting the firstborn.  (I highly recommend the message The Influence of Older Children on Younger Children, by Dr. S.M. Davis, for an in depth look at this subject.  It is available for purchase here.)

Not only do we have influence in our homes, we also have influence on the people with whom we interact outside of our homes.  There were several girls who had a huge influence on my  life when I was in my early teens.  These girls were a few years older than me and sang in a home school girls ensemble along with my sister and I (and several other girls).  I had great admiration for these sweet, godly girls and watched them very closely.  They wore beautiful dresses and skirts and so I wanted to wear dresses and skirts too.  Their words carried weight with me.  One time, a passing comment they made about a book I was reading caused me to carefully evaluate my reading choices and completely eliminate certain books from my reading list.  I even adopted some of their aspirations, which at first seemed so foreign to me.  They had no idea they had such influence over me.  I don’t think I realized it at the time, but, as I look back over my growing up years, their friendship was a major turning point in my life.

This past week my mom and I had the opportunity to drive three young boys to and from school all week.  (The mother’s car was in the shop.)  The boys come from rough family situations and go to public school.  Each morning we tried to teach them a Bible verse and then review it in the afternoon.  The youngest boy did not want to say the verses, but because the older boys said them, he followed their example.  The older boys, though completely unaware of their influence, led the younger boy to do right.  (God’s Word does not return to Him void!  We pray that all three will trust Christ for salvation.) 

It is imperative to make the most of each opportunity to influence someone for good.  You never know how long that opportunity will last.  Thursday morning I was very tired and considered asking my mom if she could take the boys to school without me.  However, knowing the importance of the task, I quickly put the thought aside and went with her to take the boys.  After we dropped them off we made plans for what we would teach them the final day, only to get a call from the mom that afternoon that her car was fixed and she could take them to school herself the next day.  The opportunity was gone. 

The influence we each wield carries with it great responsibility.  In I Corinthians 11:1, Paul exhorted, “Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ.”  We must be careful to follow Christ so that those under our influence will desire to follow Him too.   

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© Copyright 2007 by Vida Earnshaw

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