Living for God: Can I Really Make a Difference?
There are many instances in scripture where great people of faith asked themselves the question, “Can God really use me?” Maybe you are asking yourself the same question, and the answer is YES! Of course, He can use you. This month, let’s look at how God uses our struggles and doubts turns them around for His glory.
God Can Use You!
Think of who you are and your life story so far. What things come to mind that you believe would keep you from doing great things and making a difference? Have there been challenges in your life that you think disqualify you from having an impact? Do you find yourself doubting God? And do you put limitations on yourself because of your age?
Remember that we are our own worst critics. Often we limit ourselves and what we do because we don’t believe that we can do them. In some cases, however, we need the mighty hand of God to intervene. In those moments, when we live for God and put our faith and trust in Him, He can do mighty miracles that point to His goodness.
In the Book of Genesis, Joseph makes a powerful statement. He tells his brothers, who had sold him into slavery years before, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, NIV).
Joseph’s story is one of the most incredible stories of redemption ever told. God turned complicated family relationships and painful circumstances into a successful life for Joseph and healing with his family. Not only that, God provided Joseph the wisdom to know a famine was coming, and because of his preparations, thousands of lives were saved.
If God did all this in Joseph’s life, do you believe He can do the same in yours? God can use you and your story to make a difference in the world around you.
Let’s look at a few more people from the Bible who doubted they could make a difference but were amazed at what happened when they put their faith and trust in living for God.
Having Faith Instead of Doubt
Abraham and Sarah desperately wanted to have children and raise a family. As years passed without children and they got older, they had serious doubts about whether God could actually give them a child. They doubted God so much that they eventually took matters into their own hands. When Abraham and Sarah’s servant, Hagar, had a child together, it resulted in grief, bitterness, and a broken family.
However, God did hold to His promise to give them a child. When Sarah was ninety years old, she gave birth to her first son, Isaac. Can you imagine being that age and having a child? Not only did God give Abraham and Sarah children, but He made them parents of a nation, the nation of Israel. Abraham and Sarah had to wait for God’s perfect timing, which was difficult. They must have thought that having a child was impossible. But God came through and delivered on
His promise. It certainly wasn’t in the way they expected, but in the end, things turned out far better than they could have ever imagined.
Read: Genesis 16-17
- What doubts do you have about God? Do you doubt His love or that He is a good Father to you? Do you doubt His ability to do impossible things?
- Is there a miracle you are waiting for in your life?
- How would that miracle help you make a difference to others?
Prayer: Share your needs with God and ask Him for help waiting for is perfect timing .Ask Him to show you His plan and how you can make a difference to others. Give God your doubts and ask Him to help you put your faith and trust in Him every day.
Finding Your Ability
In Exodus 4, God tells Moses to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt and release the Israelites from slavery. Moses doubts that he is the right person to do this and tells God that he is “slow of tongue and speech” (Exodus 4:10) as an excuse. Biblical scholars think that Moses might have had a speech impediment, but it is unclear. Perhaps he was a thinker and processor and needed more time to think through wise responses. Whatever the reason, God already had a plan for Moses’ life and had thought of a way to help him accomplish what He had asked.
God asked Moses’ brother, Aaron, to come alongside him and help him speak to Pharaoh. Together, Moses and Aaron were able to deliver God’s message and bring the nation of Israel to freedom.
Read: Exodus 3-12
- What difficulties or challenges do you have that you believe limit you?
- Are there people you can make a difference for because of your unique perspective?
- Are there people in your life who God has brought alongside you to help you overcome these challenges and who can be a partner in making a difference to
Prayer: Ask God to show you ways to overcome the things that hold you back from helping others and making a difference, and pray that He would bring the right people alongside you to help you.
Age is Just a Number
It’s easy to doubt that you can make a difference because of your age. You may think that you need to be an adult to impact the world or have people listen to you. The truth is that you are a tremendous influence, right where you’re at! There are so many people each day who interact with you: your friends, classmates, teachers, family… the list goes on!
People are always listening to what you say and how you act. You can be a role model to those around you through your actions every day. The love of Jesus in your heart will set you apart, and the world will notice. They will want to know what is different about you, and you’ll have the chance to share with them the message of Christ.
Timothy says in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Timothy himself was sixteen years old when he was called to serve the Lord. Jeremiah, in the Old Testament, was seventeen. And Josiah? He was only eight years old when he became king of Judah. Yet these young men were used by God to make a difference.
- In what ways do you think your age limits you?
- How often do you use your age as a reason not to do something?
- How can you impact people right now? Make a list of people in your community on who you can have an influence and impact.
Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and the knowledge of how you can best make a difference among your peers and your community. Ask for His help to shine the love of Jesus to every person you meet and to give you opportunities to share the message of Christ with others.
When Esther was a young girl, she never imagined that she would become queen and save the entire nation of Israel. She must have wondered how she, a Hebrew woman, could make a difference while living in exile in Persia.
Esther had to overcome fear in many forms to make a difference for herself, her family, and her people. She must have felt fear going through the royal selection process to become queen. When an evil plot to annihilate the nation of Israel came to light, Esther knew she was the only one who could tell King Xerxes about it and ask for him to put an end to it. However, if she approached the king without him calling for her, it could mean death.
Esther found the courage and won the king’s favor. In the end, her bravery saved thousands of lives and the future of a nation.
Read: The Book of Esther
- What fears do you have about helping others?
- What things would you like to have more courage to do?
- What good things may be waiting if you can overcome your fears?
Prayer: Ask God to give you the courage and wisdom to overcome the fears that are holding you back from making a difference to others.
15 Ways to Make a Difference
Living for God makes all the difference in our world. Here are ten ways to start making a difference to those around you.
- Love Others as Christ Would Love Them. Jesus says, “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(John 13:35).
- Serve Others. Find ways to serve others. Do a chore for a family member, help a neighbor with yard work or groceries, babysit, or volunteer your time and skills at school, church, or community.
- Notice Others and Be a Good Listener. Make people feel seen, heard, and loved. Remember to make eye contact, smile, and share a hug. Remembering small details and important dates will make them feel seen.
- Donate. Whether it is clothes, unused items, toys, or your time, donating to the community can make a difference.
- Random Acts of Kindness. Do something unexpected for someone. Create a care package, do a chore or errand for someone, or leave a flower or an encouraging note.
- Become a Mentor. Become a mentor to someone younger than you, and teach them something that you are good at. Be sure to encourage them in their walk with Jesus.
- Say No to Bad Behaviors. Steer clear of toxic behaviors and things that may be harmful to yourself and others. Make sure that your words and actions reflect Christ and what the Bible says. Your actions are the greatest witness to others and can make a huge impact.
- Raise Money for a Cause. Raising money for a good cause or a church outreach program can help others in your community. Whether it helps feed hungry families or creates safe spaces for kids to go after school, getting people involved in a charitable cause can help others.
- Go on a Mission Trip. Going on a mission trip, either at home or abroad, discovering other cultures, meeting new people, working on needed projects, and sharing the love of Christ with them will give you unique perspectives and can be a blessing to others.
- Sponsor a Child or Become a Penpal. You can sponsor a child in your city, country, or across the world for a few dollars a month. Those few bucks that you might otherwise spend on lunch can make all the difference in letting them know someone loves them and is one way to provide necessities for them.
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Tell Us Your Thoughts!
These ten ways to make a difference only scratch the surface. What other ways can you think of to make a difference in the world? The Bring Your Bible team wants to know what you think. Send us your thoughts and comments.
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