As differentiators we ought to be distinguished by the testimony of truth in our lives. Through our God given identity, we must be able to bring change and alter our spheres of influence; the same way the leaven affects its mass, so must we as children of God and ambassadors of the Kingdom of heaven impact the world. We must seek to bring light and flavour (salt) to those who have been blinded by the ruler of this age and guide them to the Glory of God through an experience and relationship with Jesus Christ.
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4: 6)
It takes boldness to make a difference, particularly when the power to change and influence comes directly from God to those who diligently seek him (more grace). Jesus called us to be light and salt of the world by going against the currents of popular culture and even human wisdom; on the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught us to set our lives apart through holiness and servitude—both identity types that continue to be regarded as “unpopular” and foolishness even today. Jesus taught us to be holy and good servants before God and our brethren.
We studied in previous sessions how God has set us apart and given us an identity as royal priests (bondservants) and as a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). In relation to being differentiators, we read in Matthew Chapter five how to walk this lifestyle in a practical manner:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, the humble, the meek, the hungry for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the bold who suffer persecution for Christ (Matt. 5:3-10)
- Those who live out the lifestyle of the beatitudes become salt of the earth and light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16)
- Abstaining from sexual immorality (Matt 5: 29-30), from divorce (v.31-32), from lying (v. 33)
- Being meek: “Turn the other cheek” (v. 39), “If anyone wants to sue you… let him have your cloak also” (v.40)
- Forgiving our enemies (v.44)
On the Sermon on the Mount, God also invites us to “be great in the Kingdom” through servitude and love (Matt. 5:19-20).
- Obeying and teaching God’s commandments and how to walk them out (v. 19)
- Being abundant in righteousness (v. 20)
- Forgiving your brother’s debt (v. 22-26)
- “Let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No” (v. 37)
- “Going the extra mile” (v.40)
- “Giving to those who ask you” (v.42)
To be great in the Kingdom and to be able to bring change, we must learn to be good and faithful servants. The Grace of God to bring change is deposited on those who are willing to be used by God and truly deny themselves.
26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”(Matt. 20:26-28)
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:11-12)
In the Bible we see how Joseph was raised and protected by God to become the differentiator who would preserve the nation of Israel. Joseph positioned himself to be that influencer and ruler by living a life of holiness and servitude—“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10).
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:37-41)
God raised Joseph to a place of much influence, a place where he could preserve what was to become the nation of Israel. Through Joseph’s willingness to serve and be obedient, God preserved Israel during a severe famine. During that time in Egypt, the nation of Israel multiplied to two million. And though eventually Israel was enslaved by Egypt, it was a matter of time before God would raise another differentiator that would deliver them from bondage—MOSES. Let us not undermine what a life of holiness and servitude can do in the hand of the Almighty God.
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