There is something incomparable about the joy we receive when the Lord gives us a personal revelation through his Spirit. A word that pierces the heart and gives inspiring vision is something that can bring great enlightenment in a believer’s journey.
A few months ago, the Lord blessed me with a revelation that did exactly this. He reminded me that he has “positioned me for influence”. Where he had placed me, in varying contexts and environments, and who he had placed me around, was no accident. It is in fact the sphere of influence where I have been positioned to love well.
God has really stirred my passion to see women operate in their gifting and full potential in Christ over the past few years, for women to see their sphere of influence. No matter what our environment is, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, we can influence it positively with values of the Kingdom. Unfortunately today, I believe many miss this call by being caught in the cycle of busyness, or being crippled by fear, insecurity or apathy.
For me personally, these are huge hurdles I constantly need to overcome. I think it is crucial for women to start unpacking lies from the enemy they have believed that stop them from knowing that they are in fact positioned for influence. We all have a sphere of influence. In our workplaces, families, and universities, we can influence for the spread of the Gospel by the power of the Spirit.
So, how exactly do we as women effect change and influence in our contexts and surroundings? I think the story of Esther provides some great insights into this area.
Esther was clearly someone who was positioned for influence at a perfect God-ordained time, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). The book of Esther is inspiring. There are clear markings of Esther’s ministry and life that reveal why she was so effective in her advocacy, leadership and influence.
“Graced” for the task ahead
In the book of Esther we are told on a number of occasions that Esther “won the favour” of those around her. Her ministry was marked by, as Josephus the historian states, “a thread of grace”.
Although God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, we clearly see Him preparing the hearts of those Esther would come into contact with, to advocate for the Jewish people, and achieve the purposes of God. It is clear that this was a point in time that God had chosen Esther to advocate for his people, and his empowering favor allows her to achieve justice for the Jews. The Hebrew translation of the word ‘favour’ is the same word that is used for ‘grace’ – chen or in the Greek translation, charis. We see the source of favour is God; it is a demonstration of His grace as he empowers his children to achieve His purposes.
Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless”. The word “bestows” means a given gift, honor or right. God’s favour is an outworking of His grace for us, a gift that He gives us in order to bring Himself glory. By no means does favour warrant complacency in our journey, or an expectation of a “challenge-free” ministry, claiming prosperity for personal comfort. That would simply lead to an indulgence of the self. What it does, is bring us deep encouragement for our ministry because we know that the Lord “graces” any task the Lord puts before us by preparing the way before us and gifting us with his Spirit. Even when suffering or challenges come, we know that the Lord will achieve what he needs to.
A good friend of mine was in charge of planning a large youth conference, with hundreds gathering together to worship the Lord. There were multitudes of challenges, plenty of things to feel anxious about, but the Lord gently reminded her that He had “graced” her for this task. He would prepare and change the hearts of the youth attending, and give her what she needed to use her position to influence for the Kingdom.
Personally, as the Lord has laid different tasks on my heart, I am realising that I can minister from peace, not fear. I can choose to be terrified by the task before me, or I can rest knowing that his goodness and mercy follow my steps. In order to step into our sphere of influence, we need to first remember that God has graced us for this task. Why? Because, we then can minister from a place of peace not fear. The focus moves from us to Him and it moves us to a place of dependence on Him, as He is the author of our purposes.
Esther understood that God was with her and in her courageous obedience she used her position to advocate for her people. What sphere of influence is God calling you into? Are you ministering from a place of confidence, knowing that you are “graced” for the tasks put before you?