3 Powerful Ways to Live a Life of Purpose and Godly Influence — Erica Barthalow
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6 ESV
As I sat down to begin reading the book of Joshua, these familiar words stared up at me. Mountains of sermons, books, blogs, and Instagram posts have been written about the first three words: “Be strong and courageous.” But this day, when I came to this passage, something completely different stood out to me.
“You shall cause this people to inherit the land.”
It was as if the Spirit of God was whispering to me, What is your life causing people to inherit? Are you causing people to inherit godliness, Christlikeness? More than anything, that’s what I want my life to do!
Because the truth is, we’re all causing people to inherit something. We’re either causing people to inherit the good things that God has promised, or we’re causing them to inherit something else. Perhaps something less than what God intends?
In her book, The Cost of Control, author Sharon Hodde Miller writes:
“‘Our influence pours out perpetually…’ This design is evident from the very beginning. God created Adam and Eve in his image (Gen. 1:26), which means we possess power like God does, but we are also called to wield power as God does.”
I’ve often been tempted to think that my influence is small or nonexistent, but the truth is all of us have great influence over the people that surround us on a regular basis. Whether we realize it or not. Whether we accept the responsibility for it, or not.
Joshua’s influence and leadership caused the children of Israel to step into God’s plan and promise. As the chapter goes on, it lays out the keys that will be the real not-so-secret-secret to his success. The reason why he (and we) can be successful in causing people to inherit all that God has for them. He goes on in verses 7-8 to say:
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”
1. Obedience to God’s Word
If you purpose in your heart to know and live God’s way, you’re already ahead of the game. There will be something different about you that people will want to be around.
2. Meditate on God’s Word
This is more than just a cursory reading, it’s allowing the words and the application of them to soak into your life and work their way out into the way you live your life
3. Don’t give in to fear
Fear is the enemy’s greatest tool to keep us from stepping into all God has for us (and those around us)! Don’t let him win in your life.
Joshua gives us such an incredible example to follow. He chose faithfulness over flashiness (serving Moses for over 40 years) and obedience to God over his own ways—even when it didn’t make sense (i.e. the Jericho “battle” plan). When we choose obedience over our own ways, attentiveness and commitment to God’s commands, and a resolve to resist fear, God will empower us to bless and minister to those around us. That’s the best kind of influence I can think of!
P.S. Another way you can lead a life of influence is by building a lifestyle of prayer. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. If you really want to pray, but find it hard to actually do, check out my new book, Praying is (not) Hard, which was designed to help you lay down guilt and shame and find freedom and joy in your conversations with God. Find out more here!
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