The importance of influence

Posted on March 19, 2014 · Posted in Shaping Influences

Parents, you know the day will come when your children will face a situation where they will have to decide in an instant whether or not to give into temptation. That moment will come when you are not there to give direction or warning. All of your training, discipline and instruction will be on the line in that moment. This is a sobering reality. 

 

When that moment comes the scales will be tipped positively or negatively by one key component: your influence.  

 

One definition of “influence” reads this way:

“the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”

 

You won’t be there to say, “don’t trust, her”, or “he’s lying to you.” You won’t even know when the moment comes. It won’t help to send your children a detailed email each day about what dangers they may face. When the moment comes all your children will have from you is your influence. (Obviously, I am not precluding the grace of God in any particular situation.) 

 

How attractive has your instruction been to your children? Do they perceive your words as precious gifts which adorn their life (Proverbs 1:8-9)? Or has your instruction been dominated by anger, frustration and disappointment with their performance?

 

Proverbs 6:20-24, has valuable insight for all of us. Solomon says that sons, (children) are to cling tightly to their parents instruction. He says in verse 22 this instruction is to become an intimate part of their lives, so much so, that it speaks to their heart 24/7:

 

When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
    When you sleep, they will protect you.
    When you wake up, they will advise you.


This is influence. The Holy Spirit wants you as parents to envision the time when you will not be there to guide and protect your children physically. What will be present is your influence. Notice what verse 24 says:

 

It (referring to parental instruction) will keep you from the immoral woman,
    from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.

 

This verse is a startling wake up call. The instruction of the parents is to keep children from the powerful attractions of sexual immorality.

 

What will be the impact of your influence in the lives of children? Biblical discipline and training is not just for the immediate moment, but for all of life, particularly, and especially for those moments when you will not be there.

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.