A group of dynamic Christian Sisters requested I share a devotional I’ve written. It’s a wee bit longer than my usual blogs; I hope you, my readers, enjoy.
As a child of God, one who has committed her life to being a follower of Jesus Christ my citizenship is no longer earth but heaven, (Philippians 3:20). I’m now a foreigner in an alien land. In John, chapter 17, Jesus prays for his disciples and believers, (“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I’m not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”)
Scripture shows clearly I’m called to be set apart; to be “uniquely” different than the world, of that there’s no doubt. But, not so different, so set apart, that people avoid me. Looking at this passage closely, what I see is Jesus sending his disciples, and similarly me, you, us, into the world. Did you catch this…? He’s sending them into the world. Jesus launched them into a purpose… a mission. Jesus isn’t calling them out of the world, but, into the world. He’s calling them to be Ambassadors.
By definition, an Ambassador is an accredited implement, sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, I read “so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer”. I need to see others through the eyes of heaven. (“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”) I have a new citizenship. (“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us”.) And it goes on to say, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
In the United States, Ambassadors are appointed by the President of the United States. Their basic and most important duty is to represent the interests of the United States to foreign governments. My role as an Ambassador is similar. I’m called/appointed to be an Ambassador for Jesus Christ. My basic and most important duty is to represent the interest of the Lord I serve. If I’m called to be an Ambassador it might behoove me to understand the role.
According to the Book of John, an Ambassador is sanctified by truth… the Word of God…. God’s Word is truth. Being sanctified sets me apart for the task ahead and as a result I’m declared legitimately a citizen with all the privileges and responsibilities of the country/person I represent. As an Ambassador I need to have knowledge of the Country I represent. Having knowledge of a country won’t automatically make me an Ambassador, as that’s simply head knowledge. An Ambassador needs to experience the country, to fully understand the heart of the country he/she represents. Keeping in mind it’s not a Country for which I’m an Ambassador, but a person. How do I experience a person?
Remember when you first met the love of your life? I’ll bet you spent hours sharing, dreaming, chatting and sitting quietly, soaking the relationship all in. Well we do the same in our relationship with God. We spend time in his word getting to know his character; all the little nuances which make him …..… Him. As we spend time, trust is built; we learn his goals, his mission, and his thoughts. We learn what makes his heart glad and what makes his heart break. Sometimes our closeness can grow so intimate and deep we recognize his thoughts above all the others. Experiencing God in such a fashion takes time and devotion beyond mere commitment.
I need to know God’s word fully and to experience Jesus to the full, in order to be the best Ambassador I can be for Jesus Christ. My character should be one of humility and grace. My life should project the fruits of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Ambassadors are to be Humble, Gracious in attitude and manner. I would add encouraging as an Ambassador for Christ. – An ambassador assumes the position of a humble servant or steward, looking to the interests of his country as well as serving and helping others to learn more about his country and its culture. It simply cannot be all about me. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others” Philippians 2:4) Keeping the admonition of Romans 12:3 to heart (“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought”) in other words esteeming, being respectful admiring others, and appreciating them more than self. (“Encourage one another daily as longs as it’s called today” Hebrews 3:13.)
- Ambassadors must exhibit Diplomacy – Effective yet sensitive to the culture around him. An ambassador is careful not to offend his hosts or bring disgrace upon the country he represents. My sharing Christ with others will be hindered if I’m judging their customs, their way of thinking and their actions. As if somehow my faith makes me better than they (“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33) Diplomacy requires an ambassador to be mindful of others; Careful not to injure feelings needlessly. Remember the children’s rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Well we know that is not true, words can hurt to the heart and linger for a lifetime. (“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6)
- An Ambassador must be Hospitable – I cannot help others to see the goodness of the Lord if I keep them at arm’s length, always guarded, never vulnerable, never allowing others to see Christ reflected though my less than stellar and perfect being. (“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for therebysome have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2)
- An Ambassador must be able to Teach others exhibiting Self-control, while teaching about the country he represents. (“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” 2 Timothy 2:24) As a child of God I’m called to teach not so much formally … but that’s part of it… but even more, to teach, model by example as I come alongside others in whatever stage or challenge of life they currently reside. This may mean I need to set aside personal feelings. To be available and not hoard my time. (“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love”.… 2 Peter 1:5-6)
- Wisdom – An ambassador must be wise in all aspects of carrying out his duties. (“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17)
Paul’s states in Colossians 2:2-3 “My purpose, is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What a great mission statement.
It’s important, for me, as Christ’s Ambassador to remember no man or woman is an island. I must have the support and encouragement of others behind me just as I need to support and encourage others.
On a personal note: I really struggled writing this devotion. I mean struggled!!! I headed in one direction and the words wouldn’t come. I really wanted to explore the question, “Were compromises made by Joseph, Esther, and Daniel in order for survival?” ….. Nope wasn’t happening. Okay then Lord, how about sharing how last spring you gave me a really neat way to bring new dimension to my prayer life? ….nada, zilch… nope. Ambassador was the word, but… even knowing I was heading in the right direction, writing was arduous.
WHY? I didn’t understand. Finally the devotion was complete, but God was not finished with me.
As I headed off to bed a voice… “Sandra, people are going to hell… pure plain and simple”. I recognized this voice; it’s one I’ve come to know as God’s Holy Spirit. “Sandra, If God thought it a high enough priority to send his son Jesus for the purpose of reconciliation so that none should perish, and, if Jesus thought it a high enough priority to die for the same cause…. A stillness filled the room and then these words……. ”Sandra, do you care enough? Are you willing to risk for the sake of another’s soul?” My heart broke; I wanted to say yes…. But, am I really willing? Sadly, not so sure.
If I’m about the business of Christ then the answer must be yes, the reconciliation of others to Jesus must be a top priority. I need to get over me and share fearlessly with humility, diplomacy, graciousness and with wisdom, the mystery of the gospel with others. Paul asks the church at Ephesus to pray specifically for him, “To pray, that whenever he opened his mouth, words would be given so he would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which he was an ambassador. (Ephesians 6:19)
As an ambassador of Christ and fellow sojourner I ask that you might pray this prayer for me, “Dear Lord, whenever Sandra writes I pray words would be given so she would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which she’s an ambassador.”
Until next time,