Making a difference

Does your Christian life have an impact on the people around you? Director of Soteria Trust & evangelist Andy Economides says we can develop a 'different spirit' that can make all the difference.

At one of the big moments in Jewish history, God describes Caleb as having a different spirit to most of the Jews of his time and that he followed God wholeheartedly (Numbers ch13-14). His heart was not the same as the people's around him.

The other spies reported that the Promised Land was indeed pretty special, but they did not believe they could enter. They were negative, with almost no faith in God, in his promise or in themselves.

But Caleb was different. His response was poles apart from theirs and he said to them: 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.

They wouldn't have it. They didn't listen, but stayed negative. It's interesting listening to people's conversation sometimes - A lot of what we say is negative and even moaning or complaining. In fact, according to American motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar, around 70% of most people's speech is negative!


Some people are as miserable as the TV's Victor Meldrew from One Foot in the Grave - moaning all the time. And you know his favourite line: 'I don't believe it!'

'No, we can't do it' the spies said 'We are like grasshoppers in our own eyes and in the eyes of our enemies'. It's that 'grasshopper' mentality. They were so negative that they even wanted to die.

But Joshua and Caleb had a different view. 'God will give it to us' said Caleb. 'We should go up.... we can certainly do it'. He was positive. He had faith in God and in His word... and looked to God, not the difficulties that he and the other spies had seen.

You and I need friends who are full of faith and have a different spirit, who are positive and optimistic. Remember, iron sharpens iron. 'Blunt' friends won't cut.

Jesus also had a different spirit - about as different as you can get! You can see it clearly throughout the gospels. Paul the apostle was different, too. So he made a difference to the people he met and the places he visited.

Battle on

Winston Churchill had a different spirit - and he made a difference. It was his perseverance and determination that helped to battle on when most of the world - including the USA - thought that Hitler would destroy Britain during the Second World War.

A woman once said to Mr Churchill: 'If I was your wife, I would poison your tea', to which he quickly replied: 'Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!'

We are all born as originals, but most die as copies. But by cultivating your uniqueness and a different spirit, you can make a difference. Yes, you. But remember, this is not a difference that we produce all by ourselves. The only difference that people will be interested in is a genuine difference caused by God within us, working out.

Being born again produces the most awesome change ever possible in a person, the very presence of God in our bodies! And from then on, we can embark on an exciting adventure of constant change, improvement - and transformation into someone shaped by God, not by the world. I say we can, but regretfully many Christians don't.

The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but people do fear. Some seem scared of their own shadows! However, Christians have a fantastic resource at their disposal - the risen Christ is with us always! He said He will never leave us. Never forsake us. So our resource is a spirit of power, of love and of self-control (2 Tim 1 v 7). Wow!

Let's possess our inheritance now. You can make a difference to your family and to the places you go, with your life, your words and your resources. It's time to act, to say like Caleb: 'We certainly can do it, for God has promised!'


Make a difference by being different. Don't wait to be blessed, rather be a blessing! Then you can make a difference to people you know - and to complete strangers.

I was praying in our local cathedral recently and I noticed a woman who was obviously in distress. She lit a candle, stood back, put her head in her hands and stood perfectly still. Eventually she sat down and began to cry. God prompted me to walk over to her, hand her a small piece of paper with the words 'Psalm 121' written on it and say: 'Excuse me; I thought this might be useful'.

I don't know what that meant to her, but it was just one of many times when I have been able to say or do something that has helped somebody. Once when I was a student I gave a gospel booklet to another student. I went to my youth fellowship that day, shared it with them and we prayed. He read it that night and gave his heart to Christ. That was the young J.John - now one of the UK's most effective evangelists. What I did wasn't great, but what God did was better! You never know the impact of the seemingly small things that you do.

To make a difference, you have to be different. Jesus had a knack of being really awkward when he challenged people to be unlike the world. He said things like; if you throw a party, invite the poor and crippled (Luke 14). And sell things to give the proceeds to the poor (Luke 12). He said difficult things for us to grasp - but we would certainly be very different if we did even some of them!

John the Baptist was the same; what did he say about having two coats? Give one away! Oh, and by the way, share your food...

Andy's tips to being really different

  • Don't try to make yourself different that leads to putting on a lifestyle that we think represents Christ...putting on religion just makes us look irrelevant and a bit silly.
  • Do things to other people that you would like them to do for you.
  • Don't wait to be blessed, rather be a blessing even to complete strangers
  • Resist the 'grasshopper' mentality and expect God to lead you to people that he will affect through your actions.
  • Keep doing something different in your quiet times - allow the Holy Spirit to keep things fresh. If you normally pray indoors, go out for walks. If you play an instrument, incorporate that in your personal worship.
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