We all experience the power of influence, good or bad, on a daily basis. As believers, we’re called to influence others for the goodness and glory of God, and to live above reproach in word and in deed. It seems like a tall order some days. “After all,” we tell ourselves, “I am only human.” But God has given us His precious Holy Spirit, and we do not walk as mere men upon the earth. Indeed, we’ve been equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). We are salt and we are light (Matthew 5:13-16) and He expects us to go into our homes, workplaces, churches and community and release the fragrance and influence of Christ wherever we roam.
The Dynamic Power of Godly Influence
There is a dynamic at play where whatever is allowed to influence our hearts and our minds directly impacts not just us personally, but all the people within our circle of influence. These could be spouses, children, co-workers, employees, friends – the ripples of our choices tend to move much farther out from the source than we often care to acknowledge. We are not islands unto ourselves and what we allow to overshadow and influence us will influence those precious souls God has placed around us, for good or for bad.
There’s a story found in 1 Samuel 14 that exemplifies what it is like when a child of God is overshadowed and influenced by our heavenly Father and the ripple effect it can have on a nation.
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father…No one was aware that Jonathan had left. On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”
“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”
So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.”
Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.
Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.
Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.
1 Samuel 14:1, 4-17, 20-23
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45),” and here we see Jonathan saying to his armor-bearer, “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” He was completely convinced that His God would come through for them and give the Philistines into their hands. It was a bold, outrageous move.
The cliffs on either side did not deter him.
The taunts of the Philistines did not move him.
Jonathan’s conviction directly influenced and empowered his armor-bearer and they climbed the mountain to meet the Philistines, overpowering twenty skilled fighting men between them. If the story stopped there it would be remarkable but Samuel goes on to report that panic struck the whole army and the ground shook. The Lord saved Israel through two men who were crazy enough to simply trust Him.
From the least to the greatest, Jonathan’s one bold act of faith influenced the lives of an entire nation. His boldness and courage, coupled with complete trust in the power and goodness of God, created an avalanche of victory for his fellow Israelites.
Faith Has Nothing to Do With Feelings
In all transparency, I struggled writing this article. So many good things have already been said about the power of influence. As I prayed about what to share this month I heard the Lord say He’d already deposited the message to my heart. All I needed to do was sit down and begin to write. At home the following morning as I was coming down the stairs I was complaining to myself that I didn’t “feel” like I had a message yet. His reply came as a mic drop to my spirit. “Faith has nothing to do with feelings,” He said. His spoken word influenced me to take a deep breath and step out into the unknown in faith. He often calls us into acts of obedience and we need to make a move whether we feel like it or not. Our obedience can and will bring breakthrough for ourselves and others. Simply sharing the story of Jonathan with each of you today has encouraged me and brought me strength. I pray it has encouraged you too.
Take Your Mountain
When you think of the mountain of influence God has given you to climb, do you feel confident in His power to use you to expand His kingdom and His influence? He has divinely placed you in your family, your church, your place of business and your community. He has appointed you to be salt and light and to be a powerful ambassador for the Kingdom of God. Allow this truth to sink deep into your spirit. You were called to greatness, equipped for every good work. You have His word, and You have His Spirit. What mountain will you take today? Who will you influence and embolden to go with you?
Father, give us the courage and dogged determination to take our mountain of influence. Thank You for calling us “for such a time as this.” We choose to trust You and to do exploits in Your name. Strip away our pride, encourage us to get our hands and feet dirty and go after the things that make you want to stand up and fight on our behalf. Like Jonathan, let us be just crazy enough to trust in Your goodness and Your power. You are our Dread Champion. Send our enemies into confusion. Shake the ground beneath their feet and bring forth a deliverance in our lives that will make the world stand in awe and wonder at Your great love for those who call You, “Lord,” in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Lori Anderson-Bowen is the Charleston SC-C3 Prayer Team Leader and serves as the Prayer Ministry Director at Seacoast Church in Summerville, SC. She is passionate about hearing the voice of God and seeing people walk in freedom daily through the ministry of prayer. Lori is also a business partner with SC-C3 and is the proud owner of Andowen Photography. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org