True Impact happens when we influence the world around us, joining God in making it truly beautiful. Unfortunately, a woman’s impact has often been limited to how she influences others with her beauty or body. This lie ignores the truth that a woman is a whole person and can impact the world for tremendous good through her character, faith and ideas. Fortunately, Scripture gives us guidance in how we can truly impact the world.
We first learn of how God desires for us to impact the world in Genesis 1 when He commands us to care for all the earth and every living thing:
God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth."**
When the world was later corrupted, God’s attention turned to restoring what had been broken. In this passage, the prophet Isaiah describes the future ministry of Jesus as well as the model for how we are to be a part of that restoration:
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.*
Here, Jesus uses another metaphor to describe the same mission. Our lives are to be so different that they will be like light in a dark place:
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. **
When Jesus was asked by the disciples of John the Baptist if he was the Messiah (the one who would restore the world), Jesus responded by describing how he was impacting the world around him. In this we, too, see how we are to impact the world; by bringing healing, justice and the gospel of grace to others:
"Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."†
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Another way of describing the mission of Jesus is the word reconciliation—to restore relationship between two parties. We are a part of reconciling not just all people, but all of creation (see Romans 8:20-24), to a right relationship with God!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. †
Proverbs 31 has been used to describe a godly woman, but it has often caused women to feel like they need to be a super-mom to be godly. This is a misreading of the text. Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem, which means in Hebrew each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In other words, it does not describe one woman but is rather an A-Z of ways that women exhibit godly character and impact the world around them, whether that be in business (she buys, sells, trades) or at home (caring for family). This passage should be a challenge and encouragement, not an impossible list of tasks to be accomplished. It ends with a reminder of where true impact resides: fearing God.
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. **