To help others you need to have something they don’t. If we are to help others in this world and make a difference we need to have something they don’t. We must be different. As Paul said in Romans 12:2 we must not conform to the world, but must be transformed. That transformation starts with the “renewing of your mind.” It starts with the way we think. If we are going to make a difference, we must think different than the world around us.
The world thinks that “seeing is believing,” but 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “we live by faith, not by sight.” We cannot see God, but we believe he is there. We do not see life after death, but we believe eternal life is real and is promised to us in Christ. We do not believe blindly. There is solid evidence that our God is real. But in the end, faith is critical. Faith is essential for us to have peace and hope. There will be times in our lives when God seems absent. What sustains us and enables us to stand firm in peace is faith. God has proven himself and so we trust him, even when we can’t see him in our circumstances.
Faith is also essential to the fact that we live for a different world. Though we cannot see that eternal kingdom, we know because of God’s promises and the resurrection of Jesus that it is real. That hope changes everything. That we have our eyes on the eternal kingdom gives us reason to make sacrifices in this world, to be at peace when we suffer loss, and to live for completely different priorities and values than the world around us.
But the most dramatic difference in the way a Christian thinks is in the fact that we believe God is the center of life. Romans 12:1 calls us to off our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God. Why would one sacrifice oneself? Because all of life is about God, not about me. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Human nature revolves around self. But the Christian mind is so very different. It believes that the reason we exist is to glorify God, and that ought to be the purpose of our lives. How this changes the equation. If we are mistreated by others how will we respond? If life is about me, I must right the wrong, I must make sure the perpetrator is punished. But if life is about God’s glory, then my goal will be to bring him honor in the way I respond to the situation. When life hands me a disappointment the same thing will apply. My focus is not that I get what I want but that I bring God glory, no matter what happens. That is a very different way to think. But it means that no matter what happens I can pursue and fulfill the reason for my existence. Therefore every moment, no matter how good or bad, can be full of purpose and hope. And that’s a very different way to live.