• Tiffany Miller

BLOG: (May 30-June 5) Judges 2-4; 6-8; 13-16, “Like Deborah, I can lead my friends to Christ”


Gustave Doré. Deborah. From Gustave Doré, The Bible, 1865


The Israelites were given lots of opportunities to trust in the Lord, as are we. Every hardship and easiership in our life is an opportunity to trust in the Lord. The Israelites kept stumbling and the Lord would call someone to help lead and guide them back to the straight and narrow. We likewise have guidance from leaders and others the Lord places in our path to help lead and guide us back to the path when we might stray a little.


There’s a song the kids in my ward’s primary are learning that I absolutely love! It’s called “Choose to Serve the Lord” and you can give it a listen here. The first verse says


Queen Esther's story shows me that I can stand for right.

Elisha taught that angels protect me by my side.

Like David, I can slay Goliaths in my way.

Like Deborah, I can lead my friends to Christ.


(chorus)

I will choose to serve the Lord,

Like my scripture heroes of old.

As I learn and grow in faith,

God will be my strength.

With every step I take,

I will choose to serve the Lord.


Serving the Lord and trusting in the Lord are related. Serving the Lord invites an increased measure of the Spirit to be with us which leads us to trusting in the Lord when we see the fruits of our service in our life. What are two of the fruits of serving the Lord? Peace and joy. Those also happen to be fruits of the Spirit. I absolutely LOVE the line in the above song, “Like Deborah I can lead my friends to Christ.” When we feel those fruits of the Spirit, peace and joy, we naturally want to share it with others. We want to reach out in love to those around us and like Lehi, invite others to partake of this delicious fruit. Deborah did that! She was a light to those around her and led them to Christ.


One of my favorite quotes is by Stephen Covey: “Be a light, not a judge.” Deborah was literally a judge for her people but she didn’t judge them in the way that we might be tempted to. She was an example and a leader to them: a light leading them to Christ when their spiritual lives were in darkness. Knowing how quickly and how often the Israelites strayed, it’s easy to judge them as not truly converted and being easily blown about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). It’s often easy for us to find fault with those around us, especially those in our family. We aren’t called to judge them though, that’s not our role. Our role is to be a light to them, to hold up the light of the Savior through our words and our deeds and like Deborah, lead them to Christ. Another favorite quote you’ll hear me quoting to my children is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” My girls and I talk about that quite frequently. How can we preach the gospel without words? How can we invite and lead others to Christ without words?



One way we can do this without words is to reach out to the one instead of just hanging out with the ninety and nine. The Lord is our shepherd and He seeks after the one. He knows the ninety and nine and the one; they know His voice because they are His sheep. In that parable, the shepherd leaves the ninety and nine and goes after the one who has lost their way to bring them back to the fold where they can experience all the joys, comforts, and safety that come with being a part of His flock. If you feel like you’re the one left out on the sidelines, you’re not alone although you may feel you are. The same advice applies to you, search out the one. There are other “ones” out there that yearn for companionship and for someone to reach out. We’re already connected with Christ because of His love and sacrifice for us. Connecting with others and leading them to Christ is so healing to every wound in our souls.


In order for us to be able to lead our friends and family to Christ, we need to be able to influence others for good - even if they’re part of the ninety and nine already, we all need reminding and encouragement to draw closer to our Savior. Recall the Israelites and how quickly they succumbed to temptation and distraction. We’re no different; human nature is the same across the board. We forget easily and are distracted easily. We may not stray too far, but we do stray and need to constantly self-correct which is why repentance is so necessary. I am truly thankful for that beautiful gift! So how can we influence others for good? A wise man I know taught me that there are three elements that help you have authentic influence over others: trust, esteem, and permission.


Trust. If I’m going to allow someone to influence me, I need to trust that they have my best interests at heart, that they’re on my side instead of promoting their own agenda. My influence with my children wavers because of this. I want a clean house, and my influence over my children wanes in the moment when my desire for a clean house comes before my desire to help them become successful in life. When I promote my own agenda and lose sight of my ultimate purpose as their mother, I lose their trust in me a little. It’s harder for them to believe that I’m asking them to do their chores for their benefit rather than my own. When I have the right mindset and a greater perspective of the situation instead of getting lost in the weeds of just wanting a clean house, I’m able to invite their trust in me. This is the same for all human relationships! If I want to influence and lead someone to Christ, they need to be able to trust me. That trust is earned through consistent efforts and experiences that help them see that I’m on their side.


Esteem. I only allow others to influence me when I look up to them. If someone I didn’t look up to suggested I do something different in my life, the likelihood of me changing anything is slim to none. If someone I did look up to, and esteemed as wise and knowledgeable, were to suggest I make a change or even shared with me a change they made in their own life, I would be much more likely to change and/or mimic their change in my own life. If we’re to help influence others, we need to be held in their esteem. We need to produce fruits that others can see are worthwhile and delicious to the taste. When they see the joy and peace of Christ in our lives that come from living the gospel, they would naturally desire it for themselves. These genuine, not counterfeit, fruits are only brought about through following Christ.


Permission. I have to give someone permission to influence me. It won’t happen otherwise. This is the same for both positive and negative influences. I am the agent to act; I have the power to choose, and I can choose if they influence me or not. I sometimes outright ask my children if I can influence them when I see an area they can improve upon. I ask their permission which lets me know if they are in a space where I can teach them something or if I need to try again at another time. The Lord treats us the same way. He allows us to determine if we’ll allow Him to influence us or not. He’s always there for us. We decide if we’ll allow Him into our lives or not to influence us for good. He won’t take our agency, but His arms are always open to us, inviting us to “come, follow me.”


When we combine these elements, we increase our ability to lead our friends to Christ. It all boils down to charity. When we have charity for our fellow man, our actions will naturally flow to those that make us trustworthy, which make it easier to see the fruits of gospel living in our lives. This in turn encourages others to give us permission to influence them and lead them to Christ.




I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.


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