“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” This wonderful quote by C.T. Studd can guide us to live our lives with a different perspective than the world’s- one with eternal value. It encourages us to live not for ourselves, but for the kingdom of God. But can one person make a difference for Him? A true difference? Our world has so many enormous problems right now. What lasting fruit can one person produce?
Definition of Making a Difference
To make a difference is to do something of importance; something that helps people or makes the world a better place. In a worldly sense, this might require luck, a lot of money, superior knowledge, or being in the right place at the right time.
Making a difference for God uses none of those things.
Don’t get me wrong, God wants us to use our gifts and talents in His physical world. I’m thankful for the people who discover novel ways to heal our sicknesses, design beautiful things and work hard to plant/harvest our food.
Designed to Make a Difference
But above and overarching all those things, He designed us to make a difference with a higher purpose. The apostle Paul explains-
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10.
He gave us salvation through His Son, and as a testament to that reality, He has plans for us to live it out.
Our good works naturally spring forth because of our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.
James explains it this way: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead.” James 2:17.
This verse doesn’t mean we earn our salvation by “making a difference.” It tells us our acts of serving and living like Jesus are proof that we believe He died for our sins.
Our actions are the “spiritual fruit” that Jesus was speaking of in the Parable of the Fig Tree. The fig tree in Jesus’ parable had healthy roots and plenty of green leaves, but no fruit. It should have produced figs!
Likewise, our faith should produce fruit when it is active and real.
Are you producing fruit? What kind? (there are many!)
Bible Verses about Making a Difference
God’s Word has plenty of encouragement and direction towards making a difference for Him.
“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” 2 Peter 1:3 NLT.
He equips us and gives us the help we need through His Holy Spirit. He empowers, teaches, guides and convicts us.
God has been leading His people throughout the ages and He continues doing so in our lives. He doesn’t expect us to figure it out on our own, or “leave us hanging.” His help and guidance are available to us 24/7!
He wants us to make a difference in the lives of others.
Be the Light
“You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14a,16.
Our lives should glow like bright lights when we are making a difference for Jesus in the world. Each good deed puts God’s glory on display- “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8 NASB.
He wants us to be a beacon of truth that always points back to Him.♥
Love One Another
I split this verse into separate sentences because it is so full of practical actions we can take in our everyday life.
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Rejoice in our confident hope.
Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.
Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12: 10-13 NLT.
As you read through each one- did one in particular convict or speak to you?
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15.
Jesus never planned for us to keep our faith locked inside ourselves.
But the reason I love this verse so much is that it tells us we don’t have to knock people over the head with the Good News or shout it obnoxiously. (I hear so many people shouting these days…)
We are to be ready to defend our faith, our lifestyle, and our Christian perspective. The caveat is to do it in a gentle and respectful manner.
How to Live like Jesus in the Modern World
What do you think Jesus would be like if He came to earth today for a visit? He might wear different clothes. He might embrace technology (but in a Christ-like way!) Jesus might use modern transportation to get from place to place.
But one thing wouldn’t change. He’d still be our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King of the Universe. He’d carry Himself with the same attitude that He did long ago.
Jesus would be in constant prayer with His Father. He’d be caring and kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.
His social media feed would shine brightly with encouragement, genuine love, and His truth. He’d travel to the poorest parts of town and see to the needs of the sick and the broken.
Healing and teaching would still fill His days. He’d be forgiving towards others and fighting for justice for the weak. He’d condemn the religious hypocrites of the day.
If we are here to make a difference, then we should emulate His attributes.
Serve as He did. Test popular lines of thinking against His truth.
Be in contact with the Father through prayer on an hour by hour basis if needed.
Trust in God’s plan and do His will.
The Power of One Person to Make a Difference
Ok, that all sounds great, right?
But can one person really make a difference in the world?
First, we remember that the power to make a difference comes from God, not ourselves.
But His call is clear, and the best way to live it out is to read his Word and know His thoughts and desires. It is there He convicts, encourages, and strengthens us to make a difference.
When we know His attributes and become more like Jesus, we see the needs of others more clearly.
We don’t have to travel the globe on a mission trip or fund a nonprofit in His name to make a difference. (Although they may be what He calls you to!)
What about the people you come in contact with every day? What need do you see?
The Power of Exponential Growth
I know this heading sounds way too much like math. But stick with me, I want you to encourage you and show how God uses this math to make an enormous difference for Him! 🙂
Exponential growth is a pattern that shows greater increases as time goes on. You probably already know a bit about it if you have ever carried a credit card balance, because that’s how those companies make their money.
Your original amount of credit or loan mushrooms into far more than the original cost.
Viruses and bacteria “grow” in the same way. One infected person passes their germs on to one or two people, those people infect others, and then the infection grows wildly out of control.
Some equate making a difference to ripples on a pond that form when a rock is skipped across its surface. But those ripples fade away.
Making a difference for Jesus has exponential growth because it is He who takes our simple acts of service and makes growth happen. He can use our small acts of love to make a huge difference in the lives of others.
The Power of One to Make a Difference
Now consider your desire to make a difference for Jesus. Don’t underestimate the power that you unleash when you follow Jesus’ example. Serve others, shine His light, tell His story, show a simple kindness, and live out your life for Him!!
When you attest to God’s love by your words and actions, that person passes it on to others, who then passes it on exponentially. It starts with one (you) but then grows and spreads like an epidemic.
I recently met one of the most kind and selfless people I’ve ever known. She modeled Jesus’ love with the provision of food (and like Jesus, gave more than needed), radiated a gentle and quiet spirit, gave care and compassion to those who needed it, and came beside one left behind.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed her. As I spoke to a relative about her, she also noticed the same attributes of Jesus that I saw.
After observing her in a few different situations and seeing these same qualities played out over and over, I realized the power of one person.
Her true servant nature stood out immensely. It convicted and inspired me and others around her to want to act in the same manner. She was “contagious” in a good way!
If we want to encourage and be a positive influence on others for Christ, be on the lookout for good examples of people who show the love of Christ. Then model their behavior in our own lives.
Called to Make a Difference
God didn’t create us to be cookie-cutter likenesses of each other. Each one of us should radiate His great love and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in our own unique ways. It’s an essential principle of our Christian life.
Jesus is your biggest cheerleader! He uniquely created and formed you to shine His light.
I believe He celebrates each time you make a difference in this world and holds you close each time you don’t. He will not give up on convicting you to make a difference for Him.♥
Live Out Your Faith
Followers of Jesus are called to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13)
How will you show the love of God? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength you need at the moment. Lean on His strength and power, not your own.
In preparation, ask yourself what old habits do you need to get rid of? What holds you back?
Are you quiet when you should speak up? Do you go along with the crowd?
Rely on the power of prayer- ask Him to show you how He wants you to make a difference as His hands and feet in the world.
Can one person make a difference? The answer is a resounding “YES.” May our eyes see the world as He does, and may it move our hearts to compassion and love as He leads.
Would you like practical ways to show the love of Jesus? Click here for a free 3 page printable with 35+ ways to make a difference in your world!
Related Post: God Uses Ordinary People
All Scripture is taken from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
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