I’ve finally started a new bible study called Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. So far I’ve really enjoyed it. The first lesson Many Hardships has us take a look at Paul and Barnabas’s ministry and their experiences with hardships and persecution as they share the good news of Jesus. Their message caused outrage with some Jews while others received the Word of God gladly. They were stoned almost to death but still kept moving forward. But the study took an interesting spin as Beth talked about our influence as women. In Acts 13:50 devout and prominent women were incited to become persecutors against Paul and Barnabas. She then asks us to look at our own heart and ask the question if we could’ve done the same. Beth says “For reasons we may never know, God entrusted to womankind a most wonderful and terrible gift; the power of influence. this is the foremost quality highlighted in our earliest heritage.”
At the end of the lesson we look at how matyrdom is a key factor in Church growth in the past. Christian martyrdom has grown since 35,600 in 1900 to 325,000 in 1989! That’s 20 years ago so I’m sure the numbers have gone up considerably! She asks us as women to look at what’s happening in our world and use our gift of influence for telling the truth about God.
Personally I was convicted and enlightened. I never thought that I was given this gift already as a woman of God. I thought that influence was something I had to pray for. But if this is true than as we move forward in what God has for us I suppose He will be the one to enlarge your sphere of influence for Him.