Your Influence Matters

Gwen Smith Blog, Evangelism, Influence, Priorities, Relationships 46 Comments

John the Baptist told God’s people to “prepare the way for the Lord” … to purify their hearts and get ready for Jesus to come, redeem, restore, heal, love, challenge, and change the world. (Matthew 3:3)

I read this and smile because I like preparing things. I like to cook. I love hosting gatherings, planning party details, and preparing for guests. My son recently graduated from high school and I spent countless hours prepping for the celebration we had in his honor. It was wonderful.

When presidents, dignitaries, and heads of state are going to visit a particular town they often send people ahead of them to make sure the area is made ready for their visit. This is a different type of preparation than my domestic kind. They are serious to vet out each location regarding security. They vet out the people that will be in attendance and in charge. They prepare the way for those to whom they are in service.

John the Baptist “prepared the way” for Jesus much like this. He went to Jerusalem, all of Judea, and to the whole region of the Jordan telling the people of Israel to repent and prepare the way for Jesus by “making straight paths for Him.” (Matthew 3:6)

Prepare the way. Make straight paths.

Since these are not modern things to say, it is a smidge confusing, right?

I wondered about it, so I investigated a bit further. Here’s what I found out. The Strong’s Bible Concordance tells us that the word for “paths” in this verse is the Greek word tribos, which means, “a worn way.” (Strong’s Number G5147)

Worn.

Interesting.

When I think of things that are worn I think of things that are familiar. Known. Broken in. Comfortable.

I love my worn jeans and the well-worn path I walk on in the woods by my house. I love my worn leather shoes and my worn Bible.

As I think about this phrase further, a few thoughts cross my mind about a “worn way.”

When a path is worn it is easy to follow. Natural.

When a path is worn, it leads to a specific destination.

These observations cause me to reflect. Have I worn a path for my heart, soul, and mind to welcome and prioritize Jesus today?

Do my thought patterns, spiritual disciplines, and behaviors pave a worn path to truth and grace?

Do my actions “prepare the way” for others to encounter and wonder about Jesus?

Every life points somewhere. Mine will either point others toward Jesus or away from Him.

Yours will too.

I want to be a worn-path-to-Jesus woman… but how?

I make straight paths for others to see Jesus when I am kind, when I am slow to anger, when I am quick to forgive and quick to listen. When I am compassionate, faithful, and humble.

I make straight paths for others to see Jesus when I am accessible and honest. When I choose His peace over my impatience and His joy over my frustrations.

I become the worn way for my loved ones, my co-workers, and community to see Jesus when I am influenced by and responsive to the ways He loves, shows compassion, and grace freely.

What a beautiful reminder: every day is an opportunity to influence others toward Jesus.


Dear Lord,
Please purify my heart. Lead me in Your ways and make me a worn path to You!
In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

What is one thing you can do today to prepare the way for your family, your work place and your community to see Jesus?

Let’s pray together today! Visit my blog to post a prayer request and pray for a few other posted prayer needs.

Love and blessings, friend.
GWEN

 

PS. Just dropped the final Summer Rewind episode of the Graceologie Podcast with guests Lisa Bevere and Andi Andrew yesterday and it’s so good! Listen on Apple Podcast here. Listen on the website here.

PSS. Looking for your next personal Bible study? Download a copy of the Psalm Adventure Bible Study Journal and get started!

PSSS. What? You want to see a few photos from my son Preston’s wedding in June?!?! Well, okay. Twist my arm.
(Photos by Revery Company)

Listen to the latest Graceologie Podcast episode here.

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Comments 46

  1. Thank you for this devotional. I stand in prayer with every commentator on this post. I ask for prayer to heal a painful gastric issue I am dealing with. I also ask for peace and calm as we all navigate these uncertain times. God was, is, and will be. He is ever present and He has promised us that there will be no more tears in heaven. Please pray for me to always remember his promise. Pray that I will not have fear or hopelessness. In Jesus name.

  2. Without transportation Praying for a new car. Also for a Wonderful Christian Man to come into my life who will see my heart and that I will know the difference so that my heart will not be broken and used again.

  3. Grateful to have read this devotional! Thank you so much for continuing God’s work!

    Prayer requests: Continuous growth in walking with God as He leads where we need to go and be. Suddenly financial blessings to relocate so my son can enter high school focused and refreshed in a new place. Guidance, wisdom, discernment in making appropriate steps towards what God wants for us.

  4. Please pray for my husband and I. Our adopted son which is now 21. Wants to move back home. He was asked to leave because of physical abuse to me. He is still on drugs and hasn’t had a job since April. He can never keep a job. I would appreciate prayer to make the right decision or advice

  5. Please pray for my husband and I. Our adopted son which is now 21. Wants to move back home. He was asked to leave because of physical abuse to me. He is still on drugs and hasn’t had a job since April. He can never keep a job. I would appreciate prayer to make the right decision or advice

    1. Sweet Charlene. My heart breaks for you. I can only imagine the struggle you feel between unconditional love for your son & enabling him. Praying for strength and wisdom for you. Praying by the power of the Holy Spirit your son’s heart is changed, ready to let the Spirit do a mighty work of change and renewal.

  6. Please pray for my husband and I. Our marriage is in pieces right now. His gambling and porn has gotten out of hand and I am no longer able to trust him or love him. I never wanted a divorce but when trust is gone, I dont know that it can be restored. Pray God will show me what path to take…..a worn path that I have been on doesn’t seem right at the moment. I need to know what path God wants to put me on. Pray I will be obedient to what the Lord gives me. Thank you!

  7. Please pray for the Lord to heal me from cancer that I have been battling for over 3 years. I would be happy with a heavenly healing. I am spiritually worn out and discouraged and also dealing with other health issues and need relief from pain. I pray constantly and need to feel Lord’s peace.

    1. I was diagnosed with cancer 3.5 years ago. Although I’m constantly in pain, I don’t embrace the cancer in a negative sense, but an opportunity to cry out to God, asking Him what is His purpose in this season, and do things that bring joy no matter how you feel. And speak healing over your life every single day! I’m in remission but I still have side effects, but God still gets the glory because, We’re Still Here as a walking, breathing testimony!! Let’s give God praise in the valley and watch Him work on our behalf in His timing!!🙏🏾🙏🏾

      1. Thanks,Trish for your prayers. It means more to me than I can say as I was feeling so alone. Also, thanks Adele f o r your post. I will be praying for you too! I am feeling the Lord’s peace today and am thankful.

  8. Please pray that I will continue to focus on Jesus so that I can be a worn path to Jesus. I pray for all the prayer requests in this chat and the unspoken cries of our hearts. I ask Father God to work and move as only He can. Father we surrender our wills to you and say have your way in our lives and in our families lives as well. We give you advance praise for the work that you are doing and are about to do in Jesus name. I look forward to hearing the praise reports that will come from all these prayers that are being lifted up to the throne of God. Be Blessed and Stay Safe everyone.

  9. Please pray for my son to be able to find a wife according to Jesus’ heart,
    a believer that would influence him to come back to a good relationship with Him.

  10. Like others have said impatience seems to be the word of the pandemic. This morning my mind keeps wandering all those impacted by the hurricane, especially my niece who elected to go to TX for rehab after many years of addiction. She left two children and a lot of mess behind for her parents. I know God is watching over me and all of them, and thankful he has patience to overcome my impatience. I’m trying to send her a letter weekly, hoping she can see my worn path. It’s hard to see my little sister deal with all these issues and not feel resentful toward her daughter for the pain. Please pray for us all as we ride out both of these storms in our lives.

  11. Hi Gwen , I loved when you wrote choosing his peace over my inpatients and his joy over my frustrations. Yeah I’m there , I need this. Thank you so much. You know it’s so awesome to be able to have eye openers like this that come along just when you need to hear them or read them. God bless you ! Your pictures are lovely . I pray the newly Weds are doing well 🙏❤️🤗 .

  12. Beautiful wedding photos. I want to be a worn path to Jesus. Please pray for my unsaved family members, Rachel, Rucker, Zoie, Ollie, Jocelyn

  13. I would like to ask for prayers today to be able to help my family with some things I need. I am trying to get the loan we will need to do that, I ask that you pray that this will happen before tomorrow. In Jesus name thank you

  14. Please pray for my nephew and his two sons. There is discourse in the relationship with their mother. She is refusing to let him see his sons or let our family have any relationship with the boys. She is deciding whether to even let the boys have an education as it is not important to her. The boys love their dad and want to stay with him all the time but she refuses. Pray God will move in a mighty way to soften her heart and do what is best for the boys. Pray that my nephew continue to be a man of Faith and be a good dad no matter the outcome. Our family will love these boys, ages 5 and 4, to heaven and back, and then some.

    1. I am standing in prayer with you Terri that God will move in a supernatural way. I pray that your nephew and the children’s mother’s surrender themselves to God and that the Holy Spirit would take full control of this situation in Jesus mighty name.

  15. I definetly needed this post because I was wavering in my ability to be an influencer and questioning my impact! Please pray that I continue to embrace all the different ways to have a worn path to Jesus. Pray that I be steadfast and un-moved in my foundation in Jesus and my potential to do great things in what He has called me to be! Pray my confidence in Him is displayed in me as I walk forward to what He is calling me too and I won’t be ashamed of my gifts or feel guilty for having His favor! That I will be an influencer for Christ and my life will have His joy! I’m Jesus name amen!

  16. I know that God has said do not worry about anything but I have expensive dental work that needs to be done and I am worried. We are not rich and my Hubby does not support me in going forward.. I trust that it will be OK but I lay awake at night worry about the bills. My prayer today would be for the courage to call the endonontist!

  17. Beautiful pictures. May this union continue to be blessed!
    Please pray for my son Aaron. He has walked away from his faith, from music, from doing anything with purpose. He needs counseling but won’t accept it. Please pray for the renewal of our relationship and that he is able to cut his addiction to marijuana. In Jesus name, amen!

  18. Please pray for my son and his wife….Ashley my daughter in law has a drug addition from her prescription and they have three young boys….my son is working but there is a hold on him getting his pay because of back support he should pay isn’t the issue but please they won’t release any of his money until child services straighten this out so pray for getting it straightened it’s been a month thank you and God Bless

  19. Hi Gwen
    Please help me pray for my daughter Shakira and my niece Jahmelia. Jahmelia is suffering from anxiety brought on by things she sees and hears about the covid19 pandemic. Shakira suffers from epilepsy. She is constantly medicated. Please help me pray God’s divine healing over both their lives.
    PSSS Those wedding photographs are beautiful! Congratulations.

  20. Could you all pray that somehow God will use me as a light to my two siblings Brian and Sarah who both walked away from their faith about 17 years ago? They both were on fire for God for most of their lives. Pray God sends them Christian friends. Family can’t seem to get through to them. And pray for Brian’s mental health issues. Please pray for my dad who is aging quickly.

  21. Michelle, we all struggle at times with seeking the kingdom first. (Matthew 6:33) Do you know how much time I wasted this morning before I finally got around to doing my daily devotion?? I’ll pray for you. Please pray for me. I have idols in my heart.
    Emily

  22. Wow…as it’s been mentioned, this is a post I needed. Have been struggling in this season to be the “light” that God would have me be. So many of us, of a certain age, are like “Paul and Silas” in our homes, feeling a form of “house arrest”. As I try to call/email others to encourage them; conversation get derailed by the global situation and then, the dreaded subject of politics.
    My prayers now, are asking for wisdom and perception; to know what to say and how to handle the situation, without making matters worse.
    I think of Paul the Apostle, a lot. His passionate essay /letter, 2 Corinthians, I’ve re-read almost daily…”whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus.”
    “God Affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ,putting His Yes within us…”
    Thank You, for your consistent content, to support us that need the spiritual strength.

    1. I pray, Carol, that your conversations with others will become more upbeat and Christ centered. God bless you for wanting to be a light.

  23. Thank you for your blessings, through your faith and words of encouragement, that your devotions bring to those of us who read them. You are wearing a path to God for all of us to follow. I am yearning for my own path and I am committed to growing my faith. My heart is broken and I’m struggling with my husband asking for a divorce and leaving our family for his co-worker. He denies it, lies about it to our children and family and he claims that I should have been a better wife and none of this would happen. I carry that weight and guilt on my shoulders daily…even though I know in my heart that I am not solely to blame. In a few weeks we go to court and he has become so vicious and my heart breaks for the man that he has become. He is a believer in God but he is not born again. He has never felt worthy of being a Christian but he tells me all the time how evil and destructive I am and casts stones at me whenever I speak to him. His family has turned against me and he is the one who has caused all of this trauma. My children, my world, are now away from me 50% of the time. Please pray for the truth to be revealed, for my faith to carry me through this divorce, for my children to know the truth and it not damage them for life and for my heart to be restored. I know that God has a plan but when God is against divorce and then allows it, it’s hard to trust that God is present! My marriage is over but I’m praying that my life is just beginning again! Thank you for your prayers!

    1. I’m so sorry for all you and your family is going through.
      I pray God heals your broken heart and that your husband comes to know Christ and stops lying. God sees you! I pray your kids know the truth and that it sets them free.

  24. I read your post and it lead me to write this:
    You ever walk in the woods along a well used path and cut off on your own into the rough? As you walked along the worn path did you find many obstacles blocking you? How did it differ when you veered off? Was there a path at all? You ever stopped to consider why? The worn path was easier to traverse because others had come before you and worn the trail down. They had repeatedly walked along that route with an intention of creating a way to travel with the least amount of hindrances. They had created a worn path for themselves and ultimately for others to follow. Much like Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist did for Him:
    Matthew‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭
    “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ””
    Everyday we are forging a path. In how we live, say and do, we are creating paths for us to navigate through life. The question we must ask ourselves is what kind of path are we laying for others to travel? Or would anyone even want to follow along with us or after us? Are we influencing others to even get out of the bushes? Most importantly where does our path lead? Is it to God and His goodness or are we forging ahead towards personal gratification? What are we using to wear down the brush so others can follow? Are we using the fruits of the Spirit habitually and laying love, peace, kindness and sacrifice along our path? Is our path worn (as a Bible constantly in use or the keys on our keyboards)? Or are we constantly removing boulders and broken limbs because we are walking in selfish needs and vainglory? If we are to live a life though which others can see God, we must be ever mindful of what kind of path we are creating…daily. We must be intentional in how we influence others and especially why we influence others. I want to leave a well worn path that leads others to God. I know what His love is and I want to chase that daily bringing others along that well worn path. I want to show constant repetitive actions of love, patience, grace and forgiveness. In essence, I want a life well lived in service pursuing what God created me to be. That requires commitment, intentionality and faith. I’m going to need all of those because I know some days I will veer into the underbrush and among the tall weeds. It’ll take my faith in Him who covers me and gives me peace to correct me and push me back along my worn path. Yes I want a worn path, how about you?
    🎶Walk with me Lord Walk with me🎶

    1. Post
      Author

      WOW!!! What a beautifully reflective and creative soul you are! This has blessed me. Thank you so much for sharing this! May we all be so reflective! Have an incredible day, friend.

      GWEN

    2. One thing I will miss this Fall is our Church’s Women’s retreat. This whole thread would be one to use especially since our retreat leads to Advent. Maybe I’ll find a way!

  25. I love your post. Makes me think more on how can I share and show Jesus in my life. I need help and lots of help. My flesh is very strong and my worldly life is over powering me. When I say that I mean in terms of material things. Why am I so attached in this world. Why can I not concern of my life and give my first and foremost attetion to my Lord Jesus Christ. Help me, pray for me.

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