Influence. What comes to your mind? Big thoughts or trivial thoughts? This past weekend our family traveled to New York state to share in a summer wedding. While there, we had the privilege of meeting a portly young fellow as my sons swam in the hotel pool. With all the kids jumping in and out of the churning water, this fun-loving young fellow knew how to exert much influence on the rest of us within several hundred yards with his highly-developed cannonball abilities. How do we become more intentional/responsible with our “diving into the day-to-day” of parenting before our children/grandchildren?
In 1 Timothy 3, we find three key convictions of influence we need more of:
Your influence must be important.
If we are not careful our parent lacks the unction and zeal that such a lofty calling should rightfully merit before God. May I give you two reasons your influence is important?
First, it prepares our descendants for future suffering.
2 Ti 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
(The city in which Timothy grew up—Lystra—was no bastion of Christianity. As a first-century Roman city, it would have been full of ungodly living and sensual practices. Furthermore, it was a city which tolerated the persecution of Christians. In fact, on Paul’s first visit to the city, he was stoned and left for dead.)
Second it protects our descendants from lurking deceivers.
2 Ti 3:13 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
According to a writer I was recently reading, “You don’t have the opportunity to influence your child in a vacuum. Not only are you working to shepherd their heart in personal maturity and spiritual growth, but at the same time, you’re having to ward off dangerous influences. This calls for a level of intentionality in our influence.”
Your influence must be impactful.
Too often we are focused more upon how we are giving influence that how it is actually penetrating the hearts of our children! We should be regularly evaluating the effects of our parenting. May I offer you two targets your influence must impact?
First, it must impact the attitude/spirit of your child.
2 Ti 3:14 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;”
(Earlier Paul recognized Timothy’s spirit that had been impacted by his mother and grandmother: 2 Ti 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”)
Second, it must impact the salvation of your child.
2 Ti 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Our children do not automatically become Christians because of your faith. They must make a personal decision to internally receive Christ as their Savior. That single decision will influence their lives in ways more profound than any other efforts. Salvation not only provides your child an eternal home, but it provides the abiding presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God long after they leave their formative years under your tutelage.
Your influence must be inspired.
I’m concerned that in many homes, the standards set for children have either been arbitrary or unexplained. You must, to have lasting impact, construct and articulate your standards as built squarely and exclusively upon the commands and principles of God’s Word! May I offer you two foundations by which your influence is inspired?
First, it must be inspired by biblical boundaries.
2 Ti 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
I was recently convicted by the following statement: “If you do not provide clearly defined boundaries that are built upon the Bible, your influence of faith will diminish in the lives of your children.”
Second it must inspired by biblical environment.
2 Ti 3:17 “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Too often we set our children up for spiritual failure by not intentionally providing a God-honoring environment that is conducive for growth. This confronts us with the need for orderliness, structure, music, etc. that facilitates our divinely entrusted objectives. When these biblical mandates are in place we can see our “child” (v.15) transformed by the Word and Spirit into the “man of God” (v.17).
You ask, “How important is my family influence?” Well consider Timothy as on author put it…“Statistically speaking, Timothy should not have become one of the strong church leaders in the first century. But God blessed the godly influences of Lois and Eunice, and later Paul, on young Timothy’s life. They used the powerful Word of God in influencing young Timothy, which ultimately led to his salvation. They surely modeled the excellent spirit which he developed. They surrounded him with influences to counter the ungodly culture in which he lived. And they allowed him to benefit by the influence of the Apostle Paul as well. The result? Timothy didn’t fall to the statistics.”
Wow! Clearly influence makes a difference. No matter what your child inside/outside of your home or the culture around you says, your influence matters for eternity. Would you expand your “cannonball range” by diving deeper into convictions of IMPORTANT, IMPACTFUL, and INSPIRED influence?
Here is the full video format of this study.
What other parental convictions would you add that enhance our influence in the home?