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Diligent Ambassadors

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Diligent Ambassadors

Tebogo Maimane

Copyright 2016 by Tebogo Maimane

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing to the copyright.

Table of Contents

 

Preface

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p<>{color:#000;}. Know Your Identity

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p<>{color:#000;}. Image Matters

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p<>{color:#000;}. Good Reputation

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p<>{color:#000;}. Serve Faithfully

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p<>{color:#000;}. Humility Is Not Weakness

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p<>{color:#000;}. Purpose Driven

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p<>{color:#000;}. Strategic In Handling Opposition

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p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t Hold Grudges

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p<>{color:#000;}. Choose Associates Wisely

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p<>{color:#000;}. Lead By Example

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p<>{color:#000;}. Keep Focus

Afterword

Acknowledgements

Preface

In this book various translations of the Bible is used. Definitions are also from a variety of dictionaries. Sources of all quotes are mentioned accordingly. The content is a combination of Holy Spirit inspiration, research as well as teachings I have received from various ministries (local fellowship, conferences and television ministers) over the years.

Diligent:

Diligent means being constant and earnest in effort and application; attentive and persistent in doing something, careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties,[* *]carried out with care and perseverance; quietly and steadily persevering especially in detail or exactness; “a diligent (or patient) worker”; [_patient  - enduring trying circumstances with even temper or characterized by such endurance. _]

 

Proverbs 10:4

he who has a slack hand becomes poor but the hand of the diligent makes rich”.

Proverbs 12:24

the hand of the diligent will rule but the lazy man will be put to forced labour”.

Ambassador:

An ambassador is defined as an authorized messenger or representative, an advocate who represents someone else’s policy or purpose.

2 Corinthians5:20a

now then, we are ambassadors for Christ”,

Proverbs 13:17

a wicked messenger falls into trouble but a faithful ambassador brings health”.

Job Description of an Ambassador in Foreign Relations

An ambassador represents a country’s culture and values, and is supposed to uphold the same. Duties can be summarised into 3 categories:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Diplomatic

Top ranking representative of home country to the host country

Spokesperson for their government

To keep good relations, diplomatic affairs

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p<>{color:#000;}. Administrative

Overseeing operations at the embassy

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p<>{color:#000;}. Ceremonial

Representing government at events and being most visible symbol of their own country.

Role of an Ambassador of Christ

Just as in foreign relations where an ambassador is appointed by the president, we as believers are also appointed by our King (God) to be ambassadors of heaven here on earth. Though an ambassador is in a particular country, they are not under the law of that country. The same applies to us as disciples of Jesus, the Bible is our constitution by which we abide by and as such it supersedes the earthly constitutions. Though we are in this world we are not of this world, we have dual citizenship, our first citizenship is in heaven and it is eternal, second citizenship is our earthly citizenship however it is temporary.

As ambassadors of Christ we are to be the most visible symbol of heaven. Hence we have been assigned to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, light attracts and salt preserves and gives flavour when used properly. In Matthew 5:16 it says

let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven’.

Therefore as ambassadors of Christ we must apply the Word properly, we must be careful not to misinterpret Scriptures, and furthermore our lifestyle should attract others into the kingdom of God. This is highlighted in 1 Timothy 4:16

keep a close eye on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you”.

Therefore a diligent ambassador is a person who has full confidence in the government that has deployed them, and they put all their effort in ensuring that they fulfil their role according to the mandate given by their government. We have been deployed by heaven, therefore we should be led by the Holy Spirit so that we fulfil the mandate assigned to us.

In this book I will be talking about attributes which I deem necessary for one to be a diligent ambassador of Jesus Christ.

 

#
h2<>{color:#000;}. Know Your Identity

 

Identity: The fact of being who or what a person or thing is; the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is; t*he*[* ]*state[* ]*or[* ]*fact[* ]*of[* ]*remaining[* ]*the[* ]*same[* ]*one,[* ]*as[* ]*under[* ]*varying[* ]*aspects[* ]*or[* conditions; the ]*condition[* ]*of[* ]*being[* ]*oneself[* ]*or[* ]*itself,[* ]*and[* ]*not[* another; condition ]*or[* ]*character[* ]*as[* ]*to[* ]*who[* ]*a[* ]*person[* ]*or[* ]*what[* ]*a[* ]*thing[* is; the ]*state[* ]*or[* ]*fact[* ]*of[* ]*being[* ]*the[* ]*same[* ]*one[* ]*as[* described; the ]*sense[* ]*of[* ]*self,[* ]*providing[* ]*sameness[* ]*and[* ]*continuity[* ]*in[* ]*personality[* ]*over[* ]*time[* .*]

 

When we know better we do better – Maya Angelo’.

This sounds like a simple phrase however so much of life hinges on understanding the meaning of it, hence the importance of knowledge and wisdom. As such it is vital that each one of us seek wisdom in order to get to a point where we know our identity, who we are and whose we are so that we can do better in life. When we have that in check, we will be able to do well in all aspects of our lives because there will be no room for confusion. Most frustrations, mistakes and misunderstanding are as a result of not knowing ones identity. Therefore let’s know ourselves so that we can have a healthy relationship with ourselves which will in turn lead to healthy relationships with others (family, friends, colleagues, community).

 

So who am I or who are we?

 

A Masterpiece

Ephesians 2:10 says

for we are God’s handiwork(His workmanship, masterpiece), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined(planned beforehand) for us[taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them[living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]”.

 

Each individual is special and unique, a work of art, a work of genius, an original creation of God. If in doubt, then ask yourself ‘how it is that no one alive or dead has a set of fingerprints similar to another?’

 

Made In His Image

In Genesis 1:26-27 God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is having a conversation and said the following,

let us make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have a complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them”.

We are created in His image, and He breathed His Spirit into each one of us so that means each one of us has a portion of God in us. Genesis 2:7 says

then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath( spirit of life), and man became a living being”.

The challenge is that though He breathed into each one of us, not everyone is embracing that fact hence we have atheists and agnostics. However denying it does not change the fact that without the spirit of life which comes from God we will not be alive. Only God is the giver of life, which is why when the time comes for a person to depart from earth not even medicine or science has the ability to stop the spirit from exiting the body.

 

New Creation

We discover our identity when we submit to our Creator. Who can best define our identity but Him who created us? Before we have a spiritual awakening or enlightenment, we tend to identify ourselves by our family background, educational background, careers and so forth. Should it happen that the family we were born into is not good then we see ourselves as being inadequate and don’t deserve anything good, at the same time when we come from what is considered a good family we tend to think that as long as we continue to do good then we automatically will make it to heaven. Both statements are not true, how one starts off in life does not define their destiny. Our parents give us our physical life but God gives us our spiritual life. Our salvation is not about our works good or bad, nor is it about our family background rather it is a gift from God. Everyone is eligible to receive this gift, Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us this principle, it says

for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.

By receiving the gift of salvation, we become a new creation and as such get our identity from Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. 2Corinthians 5:17 teaches us that,

if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things become new”.

 

Designed For A Purpose

As God’s masterpieces which are created in His image, we each have a purpose. That means we are set apart for a particular assignment. In Jeremiah 1:5 it says

before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Jeremiah it was to be a prophet whilst still in his youth.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Moses it was to be a deliverer of God’s people, after he had spent forty years in the wilderness. God used him when he was eighty years of age to bring out the Israelites from Egypt, the land of oppression to Canaan the promise land.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Abraham it was to be the father of faith, after he waited twenty five years for his promised son to be born.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Isaac it was to show the importance of learning from our elders. He learned to trust in God for the fruit of the womb, his father waited twenty five years for him to be born and he waited twenty years for his sons to be born.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Paul it was to show the power of forgiveness, he went from being a murderer of the followers of Jesus to being a missionary, winning souls into the kingdom of God.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Rahab it was to show the power of God’s unconditional love, she went from being a prostitute to being Jesus’ great grandmother.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Peter it was to show the power of being given a second chance. He went from denying Jesus, to becoming one of the greatest apostles by winning souls into the kingdom of God.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. For Joseph it was to display the power of trusting in God. He went through adverse challenges then after thirteen years God fulfilled His promise to him.

 

I have mentioned a few of the testimonies of people in Scripture to show how diverse our assignments are as the people of God. Therefore we should learn not to compare our lives with others, there is no benchmarking when it comes to spiritual matters. Furthermore we should know that our spiritual growth cannot be measured by physical and material things.

 

To Have Dominion

We are kings and royal priests. 1 Peter 2:9 says

you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you had no identity as a people, now you are God’s people”.

 

In Revelation 1:5-6 it says

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests”,

Genesis 1:28 it says

then God blessed them, and God said to them ‘be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion”’.

 

When we know that we are kings, we are able to take authority over situations rather than letting circumstances overpower us, we don’t operate in worry but in authority. Furthermore He has given to each one of us a measure of faith, that means because God knows the purpose to which He has designed each one of us for, He therefore ensured that He gives us a measure of faith which is aligned to that purpose. Therefore no one should be intimidated because God has equipped us adequately. Romans 12:6 says

In His grace (unmerited favour of God), God has given us gifts to do certain things well”.

 

To Be Fruitful

The first instruction which our Creator gave to us was that we be productive. In Genesis 1:28 it says

then God blessed them, and God said to them ‘be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion”’.

It is our responsibility to feed our body, soul and spirit with good nourishment in order for us to bear good fruit. All of us are created with an inborn ability to be fruitful, to increase and to multiply. However we also have a part to play, no one should be passive and expect to be fruitful. A good tree bear good fruit just like a bad tree bears bad fruit, the type of fruitfulness, increase and multiplication we bring forth is in our hands. Also we need to recognise that a life without fruitfulness, increase and multiplication is abnormal as it goes against what God has assigned us to do. This fruitfulness manifests itself differently, to some it may be in a form of becoming a parent, to some it is fruitfulness that is spiritual in nature, to some it is fruitfulness that is material in nature, to some it is a combination.

 

Fruitfulness in parenting is seen in the life of Joseph and Mary. Their fruitfulness is not the obvious type, when we take into account the culture in which Jesus was brought up it was not a common thing for a man to reach adulthood without getting married and having a family of his own. Considering that Jesus only started His public ministry around the age of thirty, it means He needed to be in an environment that was supportive and protective of His choices. I am of the opinion that Joseph and Mary had to shield Him from many questions and comments from relatives and society at large. God entrusted them with the responsibility of bringing up Jesus in a family setup which enabled Him to accomplish His mission. So a person has to be content if their assignment is to be a parent, be fruitful in that area by ensuring that your children are groomed in a way which will enable them to accomplish their mission and purpose.

 

The fruitfulness that is spiritual in nature we see it in Luke 2, through the life of Anna who was a prophetess. She became a widow after only being married for seven years, she never remarried as she dedicated her life to serve in the temple of the Lord. She knew that the level to which she wanted to be involved in serving the Lord would require her to remain single. As it is written in 1 Corinthians7:34

an unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit”.

She served in the temple of the Lord from her early adulthood and when Jesus was born she was eighty four years. The scriptures don’t mention anything about her being a parent or having a house or any material goods. Her fruitfulness is also the type that is not obvious. According to worldly standard she may not seem to be successful. Her purpose was to be an intercessor so that the work of the Lord may be effective. In that regard I deem her to have been successful as she knew her identity which led to her discovering her calling, and as such enabled her to accomplish her purpose.

 

Fruitfulness that is a combination in nature is seen through the life of Isaac as well Deborah. Isaac was a fruitful husband, he was prayerful, and he was concerned about matters in his household. When they were going through a struggle as a couple, Isaac went before the Lord to seek His intervention. In Genesis 25:21 says

now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife because she was barren, and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived”.

Furthermore as a man of faith he was fruitful in possessions. Isaac was fruitful even in a season that was not favourable. In Genesis 26:12 says

then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold and the Lord blessed him”.

This was not an ordinary harvest as this happened during a time of famine.

 

Deborah had multiple roles, she was a wife, a prophetess and a judge yet she was fruitful in all her roles. As a judge she was fruitful because the children of Israel came to her for judgement. She was fruitful in her leadership, in Judges 4:8 Barak the army commander says

“if you go with me then I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go”,

she displayed courage by going even though it was not a norm for a woman to go to the battlefield. Furthermore she gave strategic direction, it was under her leadership that Israel had a turnaround and was able to defeat their enemy. She was a fruitful spiritual mother as she cared about the wellbeing of the nation of Israel.

 

To Be Courageous

When we know our identity we don’t allow fear to limit us. Fear is one of our biggest enemies because it cripples and limits individuals from stepping out of their comfort zone. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are taught that

“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind”.

 

Another thing that the enemy uses is discouragement, we are surrounded by so much negativity where it may seem like an act of an individual who chooses to be an agent of change doesn’t make a difference. As a result many are tempted to give up on being instruments of making this world into a better place. When we know our identity we are able to forge forward by being courageous and pulling down the strongholds of fear and discouragement.

 

When Moses sent the twelve spies to spy out the Promised Land, when they came back they had two types of reports. Ten out of the twelve spies were arrested by fear and didn’t think it was feasible to possess the promise land. In Numbers 13:32-33 they are recorded saying

and they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying ‘the land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants, and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their own sight”’.

It took the courage of two out of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb, for the Israelites to be able to forge forward despite the fact that they had obstacles which they had to overcome. In Numbers 14:8 the courageous two says

if the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against God, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread, their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them”.

 

The ten spies had a wrong perception of themselves and as such were easily intimidated. In life there are things which the enemy may parade before our eyes in an attempt to discourage us from reaching out to our promises from God, but just like Joshua and Caleb we need to be courageous and have a positive attitude.

 

In Joshua 1:7 it says

only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you, do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go”.

A diligent ambassador should be able to encourage others when they are faced with adversity and difficult times like Joshua did. They identify opportunities and not problems, they come up with a solution.

 

Operate According To Your Ability

As people we have different capacities. We see this from the parable of the talents,

In Mathew 25:14-15 it says

the kingdom of heaven is like a man travelling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability”.

 

To the person who was given one talent no matter how much they would give of themselves, like working eighteen hour days for example, still they would not be able to match the person who was given five talents. Doubling one is two, even if hypothetically the person with five talents would not bother to work, on the surface it would seem like they are better off as they are able to do multiple things. So once again herein lie the danger of comparing ourselves with others, therefore let us refrain from measuring our success by comparing ourselves with our siblings or peers.

 

However we should be encouraged because the wonderful thing is that God is not like people, He does not look at the external but rather at the heart. All He requires from us is that we give our best. A person with one talent when they give double their effort the outcome will be two, the person with two talents when they double their effort the outcome will be four, the person with five when they double their effort the outcome will be ten. However when you look at the scorecard, all will have one hundred percent next to their names, which would mean they performed equally.

 

Secondly, we should realise that some are designed to do one thing and do it well to a point where they become an expert in it. And as such they become the person to which people come to when they need to consult in their particular field. These are those who are given one talent. Some are designed to do various things, therefore you may find them doing multiple projects, and these are those who were given two and five talents.

 

In summary

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We are carriers of God. It is our responsibility to take cognisance of it, when we do so we are able to live with a consciousness that greater is He that lives in us than the one in the world.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We must rule, have dominion, not over people but over obstacles, challenges, which we encounter in life.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We must be productive, bear good fruit.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We must take our position, that is we must fulfil our purpose, operate according to the measure of faith and grace which we have been entrusted with.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We are royal priests thus we must make sacrifice (of worship, thanksgiving, offering, intercession) unto the Lord.

 

When we know our identity, we are able to go and be diligent ambassadors of Christ Jesus wherever we are, in our families, neighbourhood, workplace, ministry.

 

 

In moments when you need encouragement, remind yourself of your identity.

 

Self Affirmation:

I am a masterpiece, created in God’s image, to have dominion, operate within my ability, and to be fruitful by fulfilling my purpose. I will be courageous as I pursue my purpose.

 

#
h2<>{color:#fff;}. Image Matters

Image: appearance,[ ]*visual aspect impression[ (an outward appearance).*]

There is a saying that goes first impressions lasts, Saint Jerome said

Early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?”,

therefore as Christians we should make an effort to take care of our image. Image includes things such as the way you conduct yourself, the dress code, etiquette, and the way you speak, your body odour. These things may sound basic, trivial and superficial however they are not, we should be careful not to repel people by any means from hearing the gospel. I think each person can recall an incident or more where you entered a room and encountered a person with bad body odour, more common in our beloved continent of Africa. If that person wanted to share the gospel with you it would not be achievable because you want to get out of their sight as soon as possible. Another aspect is that we also have a category of people that take image very seriously and unless you meet their approval externally they will not give you a time or day to share with them whatever you want to, in this case the gospel. To be a diligent ambassador of Christ these things cannot be overlooked.

Having said the above, I would like to caution that being image conscious doesn’t mean people should wear expensive apparel (those who can’t afford it). As people we fall into different categories financially therefore as individuals we should cater to our image in accordance with our affordability, we should refrain from falling into financial traps as a result of being covetous. Each person must live within their means. Many people have fallen prey to the credit system and by virtue of that they now find themselves in immense financial debts. By discussing this issue of image I am not encouraging such behaviour, the image consciousness I am referring to doesn’t mean being a fashionista and having to change your wardrobe every season, all that needs to be kept in mind is cleanliness, being presentable and good etiquette.

We are made in the image of God and everything which He created was declared to be beautiful. Genesis 1:31 says

then God looked over all He had made, and He saw it was excellent in every way”.

The founding King, the God of creation ensured that all was made excellent therefore as diligent ambassadors of the kingdom of God we should also have the same attitude of aiming for excellence. We must not worry about anything but fully rely on God including matters of our image, just like He dresses the lilies of the field, He is more than capable to dress us also. In Matthew 6:28-32 it says

so why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin and yet I say to you that neither Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you….your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things”

There is no excuse for mediocrity in the kingdom of God and that includes our image. We are brand ambassadors for the kingdom of the Most High God therefore we should look the part and ensure that we don’t misrepresent Him.

Dress Code

The issue of dress code is quite complex as it involves the cultural aspect of individuals. The world is very rich in cultural diversity and this diversity extends into the church. In regard to this aspect I will not be addressing this issue by listing things that are acceptable and those which are not as they are subjective.

The angle which I want to look into is the matter of appearance, competition and idolising clothes.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Appearance

Some opportunities will present themselves as a result of how one looks. In the book of Esther chapter 2, when king Ahasuerus was looking to have a new queen because he had rejected the previous one, he appointed officers to go gather beautiful young ladies from all the hundred and twenty seven provinces which were under his rule. This means that the prerequisite used to qualify the ladies to be shortlisted was their appearance. Even though they had qualified for the first stage, they also had to undergo beauty preparations for a period of twelve months before they got the chance to be presented before the king. It was under these conditions that Esther was prepared for her role to become queen.

Esther, whose looks had enabled her to be shortlisted, knew that though it was her appearance that had presented her with the opportunity but what was going to be vital for her to be chosen for the position was her character. Therefore she didn’t concentrate only on her external beauty but also on her spirituality and conduct. By doing this she maximised her chances of being chosen, even before she could meet the king and officially be crowned queen she already obtained favour in the sight of all who saw her.

In 1 Peter 3: 3-4 it says

do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God”

As people we shouldn’t concentrate on external appearance and neglect inner beauty because external beauty fades away but internal beauty is long lasting.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Competition

There is a very disturbing spirit of competition that has infiltrated the church, more common in urban areas. Some people’s motive of going to church is to go display their latest fashion items or other material things. As much as it is our responsibility to be image conscious I need to caution that the motive of why we are doing it is more of importance. We take care of our image as an act of worship unto God because we have realised that as temples of the Holy Spirit we should put on apparel that reflects that we are carriers of Someone special, we are God containers. However our image doesn’t supersede what is in our heart, one may be excellent externally in terms of image but not be acceptable to God because the heart (motive, attitude, spirit) is not in an excellent condition. When Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel after God had rejected king Saul, he found people (David’s brothers) who looked externally suitable for the role but God didn’t approve of them.

In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says

but the Lord said to Samuel ‘do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature because I have refused him. For the Lord doesn’t see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart’”.

As ambassadors of the kingdom of God we should be alert, though it is good to be image conscious, the most important part is to ensure that we don’t get consumed by that mindset to a point where there’s competition amongst people in the church. God looks at the heart so if our motive is wrong then we hinder our prayers as they become unanswered.

James 4:3 says

you ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”.

I derived some lessons from one of the reports given by a missions team after they had been on an outreach in one of the rural areas. The level of poverty in the area in which they had an outreach is so rife that in a conference which was for pastors and their spouses, one pastor’s wife had no shoes. Despite her circumstance she attended every day of the conference and didn’t allow her lack to compromise her worship. When I heard this woman’s story and observed the level of competition that has infiltrated the urban church I became very sad. How many people in the urban church have stopped coming to church just because they compare themselves with their peers who have the latest trend of clothing, phone, car and so forth? The urban church is in a state where some people have moved their eyes from God and are focusing on selfish ambitions, and as such their worship has been compromised. Our faith in God should not be presumptuous but rather reverent. In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord says

these people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Idolatry

Another thing is that we should be careful not to focus so much on our dress code and external appearance that it becomes an idol in our lives. What I mean by this is that we shouldn’t treasure our possessions more than we treasure being in the presence of God. If it happens that the Holy Spirit prompts you to kneel down during church would you obey or would you first think that your clothes are going to get dirty?

When Jesus entered Jerusalem sitting on the donkey the people honoured Him by spreading their clothes on the road, Matthew 21: 5 says

and a great multitude spread their clothes on the road, others cut down branches from trees and spread them on the road”.

The people used their clothes to pay homage to Him as it was customary that a king’s subject paid homage to him by providing a carpet to walk or ride in. This teaches us that we shouldn’t let anything hinder us, when we are in the presence of God we should be willing to use anything to pay homage to Him.

Grooming

Individuality and artistic expression shouldn’t refrain us from being well groomed, our image is not only about us but about the Great I Am who resides in us through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph understood this concept fully, as such when he was released from prison he sorted out his image first before he could go present himself before Pharaoh. In Genesis 41:14 it states that

then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon, and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh”.

As a person in authority someone would have been afraid and hesitated to make Pharaoh wait whilst they go groom themselves. The prison keepers did their part by releasing Joseph quickly but Joseph had the wisdom and insight that to address a person of Pharaoh’s calibre one had to look the part, in light of that Joseph ensured that he didn’t present himself before Pharaoh in a mediocre appearance. He didn’t live any room for excuses, just because he was required quickly didn’t mean that he could present himself in prisoners clothing. Furthermore Joseph also observed protocol because Egyptian custom demanded that he be clean shaven when he went in the presence of Pharaoh.

Etiquette and Manners

As diligent ambassadors of the kingdom of God, we must learn what is the acceptable protocol and manners for the area and region we live in. We shouldn’t behave in a way that makes people avoid being in our company due to being disorderly, lacking table manners or speaking loud, and so forth. It is vital that our behaviour and conduct do not make people question our faith, especially when it comes to public image. As previously mentioned nowadays in the church there is diversity so phrases and behavioural patterns that may be acceptable in one society or country may not be so acceptable in another hence we should always check such things when relocating to another region, country or going on a short-term missions trip. Colossians 4:6 says

let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one”

The way we speak to people should not be in a rude manner, our conduct should be humble and respectful even in an unfavourable circumstance which is why we need to tame our tongue. Our words and conduct should always be pleasing to God, Psalm 19:14 says

let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, o Lord, my strength and my Redeemer”

Diligent ambassadors take cognisance of their image holistically, behave in a courteous manner, and refrain from anything that demeans the kingdom of God.

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h2<>{color:#fff;}. Good Reputation

Reputation: A specific characteristic or trait ascribed to a person or thing, the general estimation that the public has for a person.

There is a phrase that says “actions speaks louder than words” therefore as ambassadors of the kingdom of God we should always conduct ourselves in a way that does not tarnish the church and ensure that our behaviour is aligned to the Word of the God we serve.

A good reputation is like the cypress; once cut, it never puts forth leaf again —Francesco Guicciardini”.

Ecclesiastes 7:1

“a good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume”.

There should be consistency, the way we behave in church and amongst other Christians should overflow into our social, business and work environments. Being a diligent ambassador requires that we avoid things that will make us look like hypocrites.

Promise Keepers

Proverbs 12:22 says

the Lord hates those who don’t keep their word but delights in those who do”,

James 5:12

let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’, lest you fall into judgement”.

As individuals we must be careful of the promises we make, one of the quickest way of ruining ones reputation is when a person doesn’t keep their promise. If you are unsure or don’t have the ability to do a particular thing rather refrain from involving yourself instead of making a promise then failing to deliver at a later stage.

One of the attributes of God is that He is faithful, a promise keeper therefore as His servants we should also reflect the same characteristic. Let us be like the psalmist in Psalm116:14&18 where it says

“I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all His people”.

When we fulfil the promises we make, it is a way of glorifying the name of God and it makes Him delight in us. When we don’t fulfil our promises we become liars and as such become an abomination to God. The Bible says Satan is a father of liars, in light of this we should have an understanding that breaking a promise is not a small matter and must be avoided at all costs.

Let us now look into a few examples of those who were deal breakers and those who were promise keepers.

Laban to Jacob

In Genesis 29:15, 18-19

Laban said to Jacob “because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me what should your wages be?”

Now Jacob loved Rachel so he said “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter”

And Laban said “it is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me”

There was a verbal agreement between Laban and Jacob that after Jacob has worked for seven years instead of receiving his wage he will use it as a bride price, to get married to Rachel. Jacob fulfilled his part of the agreement, the Bible records that he loved Rachel so much that seven years seemed like a few days. When it was Laban’s turn to fulfil his part of the agreement he gave Jacob the wrong daughter. Jacob only got to realise that it was a wrong person the following day, after he had already consummated the marriage. The reason Jacob failed to recognise that it was a wrong person is because Leah was brought at night and the custom then was that a bride came veiled, furthermore the ancient lamp provided little light. When Jacob confronted Laban about the deception he was told that a younger sister can’t be given to marriage before the elder sister is married. Laban intentionally misled Jacob as he failed to make that detail known for the duration of seven years.

Imagine investing seven years of your life then the return on your investment ended up being something you did not desire as a result of someone breaking their promise, Jacob laboured for seven years with an expectation of getting married to Rachel but instead he was given Leah. Because Jacob was in love with Rachel he made an arrangement so that he got married to her also. The outcome of their agreement was not as initially discussed, instead of one wife Jacob got two wives in a short space of time. This became so because Rachel was given to him a week after he was married to Leah. In Genesis 29:27-28 Laban strikes a new deal with Jacob,

wait until the bridal week is over, and you can have Rachel too, that is if you promise to work another seven years for me. So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel too”.

Instead of Jacob working the initial seven years agreed upon, he ended up working an additional unplanned seven years totalling fourteen years, seven years for Leah and seven years for Rachel.

As a result of this, Laban had ruined his reputation with Jacob. The first agreement they had, Jacob took him at his word but the second agreement was not the same, Jacob worked the other seven years only after he was married to Rachel, he made sure that he received his wage in advance (this is in the context of the deal between Laban and Jacob not that women are goods, it should be interpreted in the same way as lobola/dowry).

The consequence of Laban’s decision unfortunately led to his daughters being subjected to an emotionally unhealthy environment and years of unhappiness. In the case of Rachel, she was loved dearly by Jacob but couldn’t have children for many years which made her unhappy seeing that her sister didn’t have any trouble in that area. Whereas in the case of Leah who had bore children for Jacob, she was unhappy because she lacked his love and this led to her envying her sister since Jacob loved Rachel more than her.

Jacob to God (Gen 28:20-22, 35:7&14)

Jacob made a promise to God in Genesis 28, he was on his way to Padan Aram, and this was a time when he was fleeing from his brother Esau:

Then Jacob made a vow, saying “if God will be with me and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You”.

Jacob made this vow after he had a special encounter with God at Bethel. After twenty years of working for Laban, Jacob decided to go back to his father’s land. A time came when God instructed him to go back to Bethel and Jacob obeyed. He remembered the promise he had made twenty years prior, that if God kept him safe he will make Him his God. When he took his family to Bethel he ensured that all foreign gods were removed from their possession, as part of him fulfilling his part of the promise. In Genesis 35:2-3 & 6 it says

And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. The let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone”….so Jacob came to Bethel, which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

It is evident that Jacob kept his promise which he had made to God.

King Saul to David

When the Israelites were facing the Philistines in battle, a giant by the name of Goliath put great terror in the army of Israel by challenging that one of the men should come and fight with him. In 1 Samuel 17:11 it says

When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine they were dismayed and greatly afraid”.

When David visited the camp to go deliver provision for his brothers he happened to hear Goliath threatening the Israelites. This did not sit well with David, he was perturbed that Goliath was making a mockery of the army of the living God. David as young as he was resolved in his heart to be part of the solution to ensure that the nation of Israel was not to be made a mockery of. He also enquired if there would be anything done for a person who challenged the giant, in 1 Samuel 17:26

The David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying ‘what shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?”’.

In response to his query, he discovered that the reward for the man who took that role was to get married to the king’s daughter, great riches and tax exemption for his family. So David did his part, went to battle against the giant Goliath and came out victorious. Unfortunately when the time came for king Saul to honor his promise he failed to do so, as he gave his oldest daughter to be married to another man named Adriel the Meholathite.

A diligent ambassador fulfils every promise they make, they don’t say yes to something and end up not keeping their word. They also keep away from shady business deals and practices which lack integrity.

Good Counsellors

Proverbs 12:26

the godly give good advice to their friends, the wicked lead them astray”.

There are various ways in which we witness to people, it is in light of this that we should ensure that our words and actions always bear good fruit. Those within our family, relatives, circle of influence, network and so forth should feel confident to come to us believers for advice. Also in instances where one identifies a person who is on a wrong path or is in need of a solution for their predicament, we as believers should take the initiative of advising such a person accordingly.

Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos

There was a man by the name of Apollos who was a religious leader and on zeal for God, he was eloquent and knew Scriptures very well. Because of his zeal for God he went about teaching in synagogues. One day as he was going around speaking boldly in synagogues there was an Italian couple in his audience, their names were Aquila and Priscilla. This couple were acquaintances of Paul as they had hosted him whilst he was in Corinth and they were also in the same industry of tent making as well as in ministry. So this couple identified that Apollos’ doctrine was incomplete (he only new basics of Christianity) as he taught only the baptism of John (which entails repentance and being baptised in water). As godly people, Aquila and Priscilla made an effort to spend with Apollos to explain to him the way of God more accurately. They taught him about the Holy Spirit because the day of Pentecost had already happened. When this couple saw Apollos’ shortfall they didn’t go around and gossip about his inadequate knowledge of Scripture, instead they intervened by giving him good counsel so that in his future preaching engagements after their encounter Apollos could teach a complete doctrine. They were not apathetic, they saw him as a co-worker of Christ who needed more equipping and as such they came up with a solution.

Naaman, His Wife and the Maidservant

There was also a Syrian man who was commander of the army of the king, and his name was Naaman. Though this was a man of great stature and highly respected because the Lord had given victory to Syria under his leadership, there was one area in his life where he had a struggle and this was due to the fact that he was a leper. His wife had a maidservant who was from the land of Israel. One day this maidservant was courageous enough to address her employer regarding the problem of her husband. This maidservant could have kept quiet in fear that she could be reprimanded by her employer but she took a step of faith. She told her employer about a man of God who had the ability to heal and advised that Naaman should go see this prophet. When we look at the items which Naaman took with him when he went to see the prophet it is evident that he was not in this condition as a result of lack of resources nor access to influential people,

2 Kings 5:5 “then the king of Syria said ‘go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel’. So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing”.

There are challenges in life which cannot be dealt with through finances or the people you know but can only be solved through divine intervention. This was the situation in which Naaman found himself in. The bravery of the maidservant by giving her employer counsel resulted in the healing of Naaman. The maidservant knew that the solution could only come from the Lord through his servant the prophet hence she advised that her master go see the man of God. It is vital that we overcome the fear of people, from all spheres of life, and should point them to Jesus for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Good counsellors do not allow their position or lack thereof to hinder them from pointing people towards the right direction.

Submit to Authority

Korah, Dathan, Abiram

In Numbers16, Korah, Dathan, Abiram, together with two hundred and fifty leaders colluded against the leadership of Moses. These are described as men of renown, which means they were prominent individuals in their community. This shows that there was a faction amongst the Israelites who regarded themselves to be equal to Moses and didn’t want to submit to his authority. They considered themselves to be just as holy as Moses and as such they didn’t fully accept that Moses was the one chosen by God.

The sad fact is that the attitude of these leaders still exists in churches even in the post modernisation era. This is evidenced by fighting of positions in church, disagreements amongst church board members, and spirit of division in all other committees in the structures of the church.

The instigators of the rebellion Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families were swallowed up by the earth together with their possessions. Whereas the two hundred and fifty leaders who joined them were destroyed by the fire that came from the Lord. When we consider the end result of this group of faction that colluded against Moses, we can derive a lesson on the importance of submitting to authority towards those whom God has set apart to serve in the five fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers).

However submitting to authority doesn’t mean we should be naive and open ourselves to those who have a tendency of abusing their positions in the five fold ministry. Being set apart by God does not give permission to be a dictator towards the congregants. The role of the five fold minister is to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to equip them. Ephesians 4:11-12 outlines this clear

He Himself appointed and gave gifts to us, some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, travelling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints that they should do the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)”.

King Saul, Jesse and David

David submitted to king Saul’s authority even though he had already been anointed to be his successor. It had happened that God rejected Saul as the king due to his disobedience. The Spirit of the Lord departed from him and he started being troubled by a distressing spirit which caused him fear and depression. The remedy which was suggested to him by his servants was to find a skilful musician, whenever the person played the harp it would soothe king Saul’s spirit and he would become well. The person who was found to be suitable for this role was David. So king Saul sent a message to Jesse requesting him to send him his son David, both Jesse and David obeyed the king’s word. They still submitted to the authority of king Saul even though they knew that God had chosen David to be the next king. David served king Saul sincerely and became one of his armor bearers. David was greatly loved, he found favour in the eyes of king Saul however this was only at the beginning of his service.

With the above mentioned examples we can see that there are two categories of how people respond to authority. A diligent ambassador should always choose the route that brings the blessing of the Lord rather than the one that brings the wrath. Submitting to authority brings blessings whilst disobedience and rebellion brings a wrath.

1 Peter 2:13 says

for the Lord’s sake, accept all authority, the king as head of state, and the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong and honor those who do right”

1 Peter 5:5 says

you younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you serve each other in humility, for ‘God sets Himself against the proud but He shows favour to the humble’”.

Furthermore Jesus taught us that whoever desires to be great must be a servant. Greatness according to kingdom standards is not about the position a person holds but rather is measured in terms of service. Submitting to authority is an attribute which is to be displayed by everyone who regards themselves as disciples of Jesus.

Matthew 20:27 Jesus says

“For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others”.

We must be imitators of Christ in all we do.

As diligent ambassadors we must embody the principles that are displayed by birds that fly in a V-formation during migration, such as geese. The reason they fly in a V-formation is because it has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following thus conserving energy. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater range than if each bird flew on its own. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the flock. In this formation it is easy to track each bird. The ones behind honks as a way of encouraging the leader to maintain the speed. When the leader gets tired, another takes over the position.

When people are part of a team and share a common goal, the task becomes easy and the target is reached quickly. When the leader is tired they need to share with the team so that they can go on leave and let another take over. A leader who doesn’t communicate this to the team ends up being burn out. It’s vital that each person be part of a team where there is trust.

When the ones behind (church members) submit to authority of the leader then there’s

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p<>{color:#000;}. Team work

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p<>{color:#000;}. Efficiency

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p<>{color:#000;}. Information sharing

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p<>{color:#000;}. Trust

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p<>{color:#000;}. Encouragement

 

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h2<>{color:#000;}. Serve Faithfully

To be faithful means a person who is not easily swayed from their belief, a person to whom one can depend on, a person who is truthful and authentic in all aspects of their life.

A diligent ambassador serves the kingdom of God faithfully. In Proverbs 28:20 it says

the trustworthy will get a rich reward”.

Furthermore Psalm 31:23 says

love the Lord, all you faithful ones. For the Lord protects those who are loyal to Him”.

Faithful in Upholding the Word of God

It is of necessity that as ambassadors of the kingdom of God we should ponder upon the issue of faithfulness. This is brought about by the fact that I have observed how some people have a tendency of disregarding their responsibility in church. For example if you know that you are the assigned keyboard player and your favourite artist happens to be having a concert in your city on the day you are supposed to serve in church, don’t just drop the ball by not showing up, there are various avenues to follow. If you have a big team of musicians in your church take it upon yourself to arrange for a replacement. However having said that I am a firm believer in prioritising things of the kingdom of God, especially in areas where we serve. I am of the opinion that a diligent ambassador is dedicated and the only thing that will make them miss fulfilling their responsibility serving in the kingdom of God has to be something major such as an emergency involving an immediate family member. Things such as concerts, plays, and so forth one can always trust God to make a way to attend them at another time. Serving in the kingdom of God requires sacrifice which is why in Romans 12:1 it says

and so brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask?”

Some people may struggle with this concept of faithfulness as a result of their background and upbringing. Some may have grown up in an environment where it was taught that faithfulness is a myth, or taught the ideology that every man for himself. However it is required of us when we get into the kingdom of God through salvation that we let go of any ideologies that contradicts our faith, which is why in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it is written

therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new”.

And Romans 12:2 says

don’t copy the customs and behaviour of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is”.

In the book of Daniel we have a perfect example of people who didn’t allow themselves to be influenced by their environment. When Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah got to Babylon their names were changed. The enemy was intimidated by their original names because each of their names had a mention of their God. So Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego. Even though the Babylonian system had changed their names, they never used those names when they were by themselves. As people who were well educated and held high profile jobs they didn’t compromise their faith, even when it meant their career and a possibility of death. King Nebuchadnezzar gave a command for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be thrown into the fire because they refused his order to reverence a false deity. Whereas in the time of king Darius, Daniel was thrown in a lion’s den for abstaining from reverencing a false deity. In both cases their faithfulness enabled them to experience a divine intervention, God rescued them because they upheld His word of not serving foreign gods. Their faithfulness pointed people to the true God. In Daniel 3:28-29 it’s recorded

Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, ‘blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him….therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap because there is no other God who can deliver like this”.

Faithful to our Leaders

A diligent ambassador of the kingdom of God has an attitude like king David’s servants had during the time of Absalom’s treason. In 2 Samuel 15:15 it says

the king’s servants said to the king ‘we are your servants, ready to do whatever my Lord the king commands’ “.

If people could pledge their loyalty to a mortal king, how is it then that most people struggle to pledge their loyalty to Him who is the eternal King? When we ponder upon this principle each one of us should reach a point where we can declare that His will be done in our lives, which means we should be prepared to say as king David’s servant said “we are ready to do whatever my Lord the king commands”. However we should also be alert by knowing that by choosing to be faithful to the king doesn’t mean the road will be smooth, there will be moments of difficulty. 2 Samuel 15:30 says

so David went up by the Ascent of Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up, and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up”.

We are privileged to have the Holy Spirit because He empowers us in moments of weakness. When the journey of our faith becomes difficult, like the time David and his servants were going up the mountain, we should know that the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen us. That is the reason Jesus instructed the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come because for us to be able to endure hardships we need the help of the Spirit of God.

In Luke 24:49 Jesus instructs the disciples as follows

behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”,

Acts 1:8 says

and you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.

Despite the fact that Jesus departed from them immediately after He had given them this instruction, the disciples displayed their faithfulness by going back to the upper room in Jerusalem and waited for the Holy Spirit to come as their Master had commanded. The only way an ambassador of the kingdom of God will be able to fulfil God’s assignment regarding their life, is by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Even in the Old Testament the importance of being filled by the Holy Spirit is taught. When Zerubbabel had to rebuild the temple, the angel of the Lord told prophet Zechariah to inform Zerubbabel that he would need more than just resources of man to accomplish the task. Zechariah 4:6 says

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘not by might nor by power but by My Spirit’ says the Lord of hosts”.

The Spirit of the Lord enabled Zerubbabel to overcome a season of discouragement, to hold on until the temple of the Lord was completed. When we remain faithful we are saying we will hold on until we see the good work which God had begun in us being brought to completion.

Faithful in Serving

Furthermore a diligent ambassador knows the principle which Jesus taught that greatness is in serving not being served. We shouldn’t be like James and John who disregarded the other apostles and wanted only themselves to have a place of honor. In all that is done, a diligent ambassador knows not to seek their own glory, or be pompous. In Mark 10:43-45 it is written

whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”.

Jesus has set for us a perfect example in serving, therefore the attitude which was in Christ is the attitude which should be displayed by everyone who considers themselves a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

Another person who is an example of faithfulness is Caleb. He was forty years when Moses sent them to go spy out the Promised Land. When the spies came back with a report it was only Caleb and Joshua who had a positive report whereas the other ten thought the mission of getting into the promise land was impossible. In Number 13:30 it was Caleb who said to Moses and the people of Israel

“let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it”.

Also in Numbers 14:7-9 both Caleb and Joshua further convinced the Israelites by saying

the land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread, their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them”.

 

Caleb believed and faithfully waited for the Lord to give them the promise land. Being faithful includes trusting in the timing of God, it took forty five years before Caleb could get his inheritance. What is encouraging is that the Lord preserves the lives of those who serve Him faithfully to ensure that the promises He made to them are fulfilled. This is the testimony given by Caleb in Joshua 14:10-11

and now behold, the Lord has kept me alive as He said these forty five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness, and now here I am this day, eighty five years old. As yet I am strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me, just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and coming in”.

 

Caleb received Hebron as his inheritance because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. His life epitomises what is said in Hebrews 11:6 where it is written that

he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.

 

Faithful Stewards

Furthermore a diligent ambassador is faithful in upholding the principle of stewardship. 1 Corinthians 4:2 teaches us as such

“it is required in stewards that one be found faithful”.

Stewardship is the sphere or responsibility of a steward (as in a manager or administrator), stewardship is often used to mean “the care, handling and management of resources. A steward is not the owner but the operator, and only exercises the power, the resources or the responsibilities given them with the interests and mind-set of the owner at heart. Everything that we have is from God, in 1 Corinthians4:7 we are being made aware of this in a form of a question

and what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

God is the source of all, a diligent ambassador recognises that whatever they own is from Him. With that comes an understanding that we are care takers, managers and administrators of our possessions on behalf of God. So when it comes to giving, a diligent ambassador does not struggle because they know that they are not owners but rather stewards. When the time comes for the owner to want his possession back, the steward doesn’t hesitate instead they oblige. Tithing is a form of giving, when the owner says ten percent of everything that comes into your hands is to be taken back into his storehouse, such is to be done without debating whether it’s a New Testament or Old Testament practice. In addition to tithing a diligent ambassador knows that they need to give what is called offering, this ranges from free will offering given during church, giving to fellow believers, giving to spiritual coaches and mentors, giving to those in full time ministry, giving to missions and giving to charity organisations. A diligent ambassador knows better than to rob God. In Malachi 3:8-10 it says

will a man rob God? yet you have robbed me! But you say, ‘in what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings”.

 

Therefore as diligent ambassadors let us display these attributes taken from the “Kingdom Dynamics: New Spirit Filled Life Bible”

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p<>{color:#000;}. Faithful in the least

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p<>{color:#000;}. Faithful in much

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p<>{color:#000;}. Just in small and large issues

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p<>{color:#000;}. Faithful in administering wealth

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p<>{color:#000;}. Faithful in what belong to others

 

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h2<>{color:#000;}. Humility Is Not Weakness

Humility is defined as – the state or quality of being humble, modest opinion of one’s own importance or rank; meekness, a lack of false pride.

True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. – C.S Lewis.

Matthew 5:5

they are blessed who are humble, for the whole earth will be theirs ”.

When a person is humble and gentle they make room to receive blessings.

James 4:6

God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace (continually) to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it”.

Romans 12:3 & 16

for by the grace(unmerited favour of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought(not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance) but rather to rate his ability with sober judgement, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him”,

live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty (snobbish, high minded, exclusive) but readily adjust yourself and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits”.

A diligent ambassador should not have pride or arrogance.

Isaiah 57:15

the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts”.

Mother Teresa said these are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.[
__]To mind one’s own business.[
__]Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.[
__]To avoid curiosity.[
__]To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.[
__]To pass over the mistakes of others.[
__]To accept insults and injuries.[
__]To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.[
__]To be kind and gentle even under provocation.[
__]Never to stand on one’s dignity.[
__][_To choose always the hardest.” _]

Nabal and Abigail (1 Sam 25)

A diligent ambassador has the courage to step forward, humble themselves and correct the mistakes done by anyone in their company. Whereas an arrogant person can put themselves and those around them in danger by their words. When Nabal insulted David by calling him an outlaw and refusing to show kindness to him, it made David angry because he felt that Nabal had repaid him evil for good. Nabal had said to David’s servants “who is this fellow David? Who does this son of Jesse think he is?”

David took with him four hundred armed men for he had resorted to go deal with Nabal and his household. David had vowed and said “may God deal with me severely if even one of his household is still alive tomorrow morning”.

When Abigail heard what her husband Nabal had done she had to act quickly to rectify his mistake because his actions had put the entire household in danger. She put together sufficient provision for David and his men and sent her servants ahead of herself. When Abigail saw David, she didn’t think highly of herself because she was a wealthy woman but rather she bowed low before him and pleaded on behalf of her household. David replied to Abigail

praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today. Thank God for your good sense. Bless you from keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would be alive tomorrow morning”.

David accepted her gifts and allowed Abigail to go back home peacefully and promised her that he will not kill her husband. When Abigail told Nabal what had happened, he was struck by stroke and died ten days later. Abigail’s actions rescued her household but Nabal suffered the consequences of his foolishness.

Apollos (Acts 18)

Apollos was an eloquent man who knew scriptures well. Even though he was enthusiastic and spoke accurately about Jesus, he was limited in his knowledge of the gospel because he only knew baptism of John which entailed repentance and water baptism. One day as he was preaching in the synagogue there was a couple by the names of Aquila and Priscilla who were Paul’s associates, they identified a gap in Apollos teaching so they took it upon themselves to explain the gospel more accurately to him.

Apollos could have brushed off Aquila and Priscilla, or bragged about his fame and told them about how a well established speaker he was, after all they were members of his audience but instead he humbled himself and allowed them to impart their knowledge to him.

A diligent ambassador has a teachable spirit and embraces the principle of continuous learning, willing to learn from even those who are their sub-ordinates. They don’t look down on anyone.

 

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h2<>{color:#fff;}. Purpose Driven

Purpose[* is defined as*] – the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose, persevering determination to perform a task.

As discussed in the first chapter, when we know our identity we do better as we live according to our purpose. We don’t become wishful thinkers nor fantasise but rather are driven by God’s plan for our lives. Washington Irving said “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes”.

Diligent ambassadors are purpose driven, they are visionaries. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things” – Albert Einstein. So we should know as Napoleon Hill has said that “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”. A useful hint is William Arthur Ward’s four steps to achievement:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Plan purposefully.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Prepare prayerfully.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Proceed positively.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Pursue persistently.

Carefully Identify Opportunities

When a person knows their purpose they are able to identify opportunities for growth, for impacting our surrounding and for being effective instruments of God. When we identify such opportunities there are steps we need to follow. In addition to the four steps of achievement mentioned above, a diligent ambassador must seek wisdom from God as well as the spiritual gift of discernment.

We all need wisdom on how to approach opportunities, not all opportunities are for our benefit. We need the Holy Spirit to help us discern if such an opportunity will be fruitful for the glory of God or whether it’s destruction from the kingdom of darkness. There are destructions that come disguised as opportunities, these are the kind that keeps a person so busy to a point where they don’t get a chance to pray, read the Bible, fellowship with other believers or even spend time with their families. An opportunity that is aligned to a person’s purpose bears good fruit, whereas an opportunity that’s not aligned to one’s purpose bears bad fruit.

Gideon (Judges 6-8)

Gideon was presented with an opportunity when the Israelites were under oppression by the Midianites for a period of seven years. God set apart Gideon to be used as a vessel to rescue Israel but Gideon didn’t consider himself to be capable to fulfil God’s assignment. In Judges 6:15 he says

O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house”.

However the promise that God gave to Gideon was the one that transformed his mindset,

the Lord said to him ‘surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man’ ”.

As from that day Gideon became a man with a purpose. He was aware that for him to accomplish this purpose he was going to have to totally obey and trust God for direction.

The first rescue mission was to free the Israelites from spiritual bondage, he had to get rid of the altar of Baal. Gideon had to destroy the idolatry practices that were being observed amongst his people.

The second mission was to build the altar of God. By building the altar of God, Gideon was restoring proper worship amongst his people. He understood the principle taught in Exodus 20:3-5a

you shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, you shall not bow down to them nor serve them”.

The third mission of Gideon was to rescue his people from their physical enemies. In Judges 8:28 it says

Midian was subdued before the children of Israel so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon”.

Diligent ambassadors use their opportunities to impact their surroundings by implementing positive changes.

Unfortunately, Gideon was presented with another opportunity which had nothing to do with his purpose. As the Israelites were rejoicing over the fact that Gideon had rescued them from the Midianites, they requested him to become their king of which he declined. However this incident made Gideon aware that the people were willing to do whatever he told them. He instructed them to bring all gold earrings which they had taken as plunder from their enemies, and he made an ephod out of them and placed it in his hometown. Soon people started worshipping it. It is evident that this is an opportunity that bore bad fruit because it led people back into the practice of idolatry which was an abomination before God.

Learn In The Process

The key lessons in the process of pursuing one’s purpose are, being obedient and trusting God. Psalm 37:23

“the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way”,

Proverbs 3:5-6

trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”.

A diligent ambassador has to learn to receive guidance and direction from the Lord in order to accomplish God’s purpose. In the case of Gideon, firstly he had to obey when God instructed him to decrease the army from thirty two thousand to three hundred people. If he leaned on his own understanding he wouldn’t have obliged. Secondly, he had to learn new fighting tactics. Thirdly, he had to trust that God was going to enable them, an army of three hundred, to defeat an army of one hundred and thirty five thousand. This teaches us that just because something looks impossible it does not mean it is unachievable. For one to accomplish their God ordained purpose, one needs to totally rely on God and take each step according to His guidance.

A diligent ambassador should maintain the foundation of their success. Gideon failed dismally in this regards, he didn’t maintain the foundation that led to his success and he ended up back where he had begun, a place of idolatry. Operating outside of God’s purpose led him to being trapped into a lifestyle which he was aware that it was not approved by God.

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h2<>{color:#fff;}. Strategic In Handling Opposition

Opposition is defined as – Something that serves as an obstacle, hostility, unfriendliness, or antagonism.

 

A diligent ambassador has insight and does not approach life issues without due consideration, they are very strategic in every step they take especially when they encounter opposition.

 

Abraham (Abram) and Lot (Genesis13)

Abram was a very wealthy man, he was rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. There came a time when Abram was so blessed but he was not the only one so also was his nephew Lot, they were so blessed that there was not enough room to cater for all their flocks. This created strife between Abram, Lot and their herdsmen. Abram being a loving and considerate person didn’t want the strife to continue, he had to come up with a strategy that was going to solve their problem.

“so Abram said to Lot, ‘please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right, or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left’”.

 

Abram identified that the only way they were going to have a peaceful way forward, entailed their separation. Abram didn’t want any room for being accused of unfair distribution of the land, so he gave Lot the advantage of choosing first the land of his preference. By doing this he ensured that there would no longer be any room for strife. So Lot chose what seemed to be the best part of the land,

and Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord”.

Abram granted Lot his wish and they separated. Unfortunately for Lot he lost all his possessions because the land he had chosen was in Sodom and it ended up being destroyed by the Lord because the people there were extremely wicked and sinful.

 

Whereas as soon as Abram separated from Lot, the Lord made him a new promise. Out of a situation of opposition due to land issues, Abram received favour from the Lord.

“the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are, northward, southward, eastward, and westward…arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you”.

 

As diligent ambassadors we must avoid situations that lead to strife, and should we find ourselves in one, we should come up with peaceful solutions. In Matthew 5:9 we are taught that

“they are blessed who work for peace, for they will be called God’s children”.

 

Isaac and Abimelech (Genesis26)

Isaac was as prosperous as his father Abraham was, to a point where people envied him. His prosperity and the envy of people led to him being chased away from Gerar where he resided. His allies had turned their backs on him because they saw him becoming mightier than them. So Isaac had to be strategic on handling this level of opposition. He went back to basics by going to stay at a place where his father once occupied. However when he arrived there he found that the Philistines had closed all the wells after his father had died. The wells were vital for their survival as they were used to cater for both themselves and the flocks, without the wells him, his family and his possessions were in danger. That situation did not discourage Isaac, he became resilient and decided that they were going to dig up the wells again. Isaac’s men began the mission of digging the wells, they succeeded by getting running water in the first well. Their success was short lived because the herdsmen from the place where they were chased away came and claimed that the well belonged to them. To avoid further quarrelling Isaac and his men went and dug up another well but their enemy also claimed the second well. Isaac and his men were hard workers, they didn’t give up just because of the obstacles they had encountered. They continued and dug the third well and were successful, by this time their enemies no longer had the audacity to come and claim that the well belonged to them. The name of the third well was called Rehoboth, Isaac was making a declaration and acknowledging the goodness of the Lord. In verse22 he says

“for now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land”.

 

When his former allies saw that Isaac continued to be prosperous despite all forms of opposition he had encountered they came to visit him. Isaac was very frank so didn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade, in verse 27 he asked them

“why have you come to me since you hate me and have sent me away from you?”

And they replied,

“we have certainly seen that the Lord is with you…you are now the blessed of the Lord”.

God has the power to make people who were against you to come and make truce because they get to a realisation that no one can triumph over a servant of God. in Romans 8:31 we are encouraged to ponder on this

“if God be for us, who can be against us”?

And in Isaiah 54:17 we are given an assurance that

“no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgement you shall show to be wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord”.

 

A diligent ambassador walks with the consciousness of the fact that God is on their side, and that victory is their portion. This is affirmed in Romans 8:37

“yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”.

 

Paul and Barnabas (Acts 9,11,13,15)

After Paul’s conversion, he tried to join the disciples in Jerusalem but they were afraid of him because they were not convinced that he had transformed from being a persecutor of Jesus followers to a follower of Jesus himself. It was Barnabas who stood by Paul’s side and presented a case to the apostles to declare that Paul had really changed. After this case was presented before the apostles, Paul was accepted as being an authentic disciple of Jesus Christ. Paul started to boldly speak about the Lord Jesus but his conversion brought him enemies of those who were against followers of Jesus, just as he had been before, so they wanted to kill him. His fellow believers in Jerusalem arranged for him to escape to Tarsus.

 

When the news reached Jerusalem that many people in Antioch had given their lives to the Lord, they sent Barnabas to go authenticate the news. Barnabas is described as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. When he reached Antioch he found the news to be true, and he started encouraging them and more people were added to the kingdom of God. Barnabas saw it necessary to remain in Antioch to ensure the spiritual growth of the church and knew that he would need an assistant to be effective. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to go look for Paul and recruited him to come with him to Antioch. They spent duration of one year imparting knowledge to the believers in Antioch.

 

After their ministry in Antioch they were officially ordained as missionaries. Acts 13:1-3

“now in the church that was in Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul(Paul). As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said ‘now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’. Then having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away”.

As they went on their mission trip they took along John as their assistant, however at a certain point as they were travelling from city to city John decided to go back to Jerusalem and no longer be part of the mission team. His departure didn’t deter Barnabas and Paul from continuing with the mission work. Barnabas and Paul encountered persecution whilst on their mission trip but they remained bold in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. When they got expelled from one region they went to the other, they were received with joy as they arrived in the respective new regions but that didn’t last long because the unbelieving Jews will always cause havoc for them. In the midst of their persecution the Lord was still using them mightily, He confirmed His word through signs and wonders. Barnabas and Paul were so bold that they had the courage to go back to the cities where they were persecuted and expelled, to go encourage the disciples to continue in their faith. These are the words they told the disciples in Acts 14:22

“we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God”

In our journey of faith in Jesus Christ we are going to come across all forms of opposition but we must endure in order to reach our ultimate goal, which is to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

At the end of their first missionary journey Barnabas and Paul went back to Antioch to go give a report to their sending church of how the Lord had used them to win souls into the kingdom of God. When the time came for them to go on the second mission trip, as they were in the phase of planning, there was a discord between Barnabas and Paul. Barnabas wanted John to be part of the team but Paul didn’t want him on the team anymore. Their disagreement was so huge that they couldn’t reconcile their difference of opinion so there was a division in their ministry. As much as they had a difference of opinion on who should be part of the mission team, they didn’t allow their difference to hinder God’s work from progressing. That is how two mission teams were formed.

 

As diligent ambassadors we must be aware that disagreements may occur amongst fellow believers, even within the leadership but that should not escalate to a point where it hinders the work of the Lord. Whatever opposition we encounter, God has the power to turn it into our good. Having two teams ended up being more effective, as they departed from Antioch, Barnabas and Paul each chose a different region as their destination. This meant that a region got to have a team of encouragers visit them faster than it would have taken if only one team was on the mission. Furthermore it mitigated against unforeseen circumstance of delay such as being imprisoned, which happened to Paul’s team. If it was only one team then everyone would have been delayed, whereas two teams made it possible for the other team to continue doing the work of the Lord, there was no total stoppage. As Romans 8:28 declares

“all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”.

 

 

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h2<>{color:#000;}. Don’t Hold Grudges

A grudge is defined as[* - a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation, a persistent feeling of resentment especially one due to some cause such as an insult or injury, to harbor ill feelings.*]

We are living in interesting times, there are a lot of back stabbers and back stabbing tactics being practiced. Back stabbers can come from various categories such as family members, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances (falsely considered to be friends). It is imperative for us as ambassadors of the kingdom to learn not to hold any grudges. There is power in forgiving, refusing to forgive is only to our detriment, and I once heard someone saying unforgiveness is like drinking poison. Next time you get offended and decide to hold a grudge towards that person, make this experiment. Take a container that has a lid, then put a potato in that container, as long as you still hold that grudge you must not remove that potato. Do the same every time you get offended and decide to hold a grudge. In time the potato will rot and start to smell. What happens to the potato is exactly what is happening to the spirit when we walk around with grudges, the spirit gets contaminated and people start staying away from you because they deem you to be having a rotten attitude.

It is not possible to live without encountering any offenses, Jesus warned the disciples as such. In Luke 17:1 He says

“it is impossible that no offenses should come”.

This term offense means stumbling block and/or a trigger for a trap, which may lead a person to sin. Though we are guaranteed that offenses are part of life, it is important for us to know how to deal with these offenses when they come our way. Ephesians 4:26 says

don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil”.

Absalom and David (2 Samuel 15-18)

An example of a back stabber who is a family member is seen in the story of what Absalom did to David. Absalom was the son of king David, he is said to have been the most good looking man in the whole of Israel. When Absalom was twenty four years of age he conspired to overthrow his father’s kingdom. He stole the hearts of the Israelites by professing to be devoted to them and the one who could give them justice if they made him the judge of the land. By this he insinuated that his father was neither a good king nor ruling the people with justice. His conspiracy was so strong that it drove king David, his household and his servants to flee from Jerusalem, they fled from the city of power and fled into the wilderness.

Even though Absalom did all this to his father, David still loved him to a point where he requested the leaders of the army to preserve Absalom’s life when they met in battle. Unfortunately for Absalom, when he went to war with David’s men he got trapped whilst on the battle field and he found himself in a situation beyond his control. In 2 Samuel 18:9 it says

During the battle Absalom came unexpectedly upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule but as he rode beneath the thick branches of terebinth (oak) tree, his head got caught. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. One of David’s men saw what happened and told Joab (army leader)”.

So Joab disregarded his master’s instruction and killed Absalom. A son who disrespected his father ended dying because of his foolishness.

When king David heard about the death of Absalom he cried bitterly, the way he mourned for his son reflects that despite all that Absalom had done to his father, David did not hold any grudges against his son.

Mephibosheth and Ziba (2 Samuel 9, 2 Samuel 16:1-4, 2 Samuel 19:24-30)

An example of a back stabber that is a close acquaintance is seen in what Ziba did to Mephibosheth. Ziba used to be a servant to Mephibosheth’s grandfather (king Saul). When king Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle, Ziba and his household no longer had any kingdom to serve as Jonathan’s son was very young and was taken in to stay in the house of Machir. There came a time when king David remembered his covenant with his friend Jonathan, this prompted him to look for Jonathan’s descendants and he found one by the name of Mephibosheth. After the king had promoted Mephibosheth, he instructed Ziba and his household to resume their role by being servants of their former boss’ grandson (Mephibosheth).

Even though Ziba agreed to the king’s instruction, later on he displays that he was silently holding a grudge against Mephibosheth. It seems Ziba was not pleased with the decision by the king to give Mephibosheth all the land that belonged to king Saul. A grudge cannot be kept hidden indefinitely, it has a way of creeping to the surface and manifesting itself. In the case of Ziba this grudge manifested when David was fleeing from Absalom. The grudges that Ziba had, made him behave in a deceitful manner. Ziba took some food items and necessities to David, and gave him the impression that Mephibosheth didn’t care about David’s wellbeing. However Ziba’s lie was exposed when king David returned back to Jerusalem. In 2 Samuel 19:26-27 we hear Mephibosheth making a confession to king David

My Lord, O king, my servant deceived me. For your servant said ‘I will saddle the donkey for myself, that I may ride on it and go to the king’ because your servant is lame. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king”.

It is evident that Ziba deceived king David regarding Mephibosheth because he wanted a portion of king Saul’s land. The sad thing is that he succeeded in his scheming because the king instructed that the land be divided between Mephibosheth and Ziba. Even though Ziba acquired the land but his scheming ways were exposed, this shows that things that are done in secret become known ultimately. As people in the kingdom of God we must walk as children of the light. In Ephesians 5:11-12 it says

have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful to even speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Holding a grudge is one of the unfruitful works of darkness therefore we shouldn’t fall prey to it.

After all this Mephibosheth decided Ziba should take all the land that previously belonged to king Saul. By letting go of the land Mephibosheth was showing king David his loyalty to him. Mephibosheth acted according to the teaching in Romans12:19-20 where it says

dear friends never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written ‘I will take vengeance, I will repay those who deserve it’ says the Lord. Instead do what scripture say ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you’ ”.

We as people in the kingdom of God we need to learn the discipline of not taking matters into our hands but to hand them over to God. As diligent ambassadors we must refrain from the spirit of wanting revenge, and know that our Father is the God of justice and He will avenge our enemies.

David and Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15-17)

An example of a back stabber who is a colleague is Ahithophel. This was a king’s counsellor, same as the president’s advisor. During the plot to overthrow the king, Ahithophel was part of the conspirators. By the time David received information regarding Absalom’s plan, Ahithophel had already left David’s side and joined Absalom’s team.

Ahithophel had direct access to the king, he had every opportunity to have warned the king about what his son Absalom was planning but unfortunately he did not. It is difficult to know what his motive was as Ahithophel already had a high position within the kingdom, the position he held with Absalom is the same position he held in king David’s team.

The very person who was king David’s advisor was now the one who was coming up with a strategy on how to capture and kill him. 2 Samuel 17:1-2

Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him whilst he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king’ ”.

Unfortunately for Ahithophel, Absalom didn’t take his advice, he opted for Hushai’s advice. Ahithophel is another example of how people with wrong intentions are never successful in the long-term, it is for this reason that we should refrain from holding grudges because such people ultimately get the fruit of their labour. The outcome of Ahithophel is that when he saw that his ways were not favourable he ended up committing suicide.

Even though back stabbers may come from those who are close with us, we should be encouraged because it is not all who are close to us that intends harm. Our encouragers, motivators and supporters are found within the same pool where our back stabbers come from. The best way to discover who is on which side is when you undergo trials and tribulations. Hard times have a way of exposing who is on your side as well as those who are against you. All of the three examples we used, were as a result of the hardship which David underwent. Therefore in hard times we shouldn’t go around pointing fingers and blaming each other but rather we should know that no season lasts forever, no matter how big the challenge may be it shall come to an end.

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h2<>{color:#fff;}. Choose Associates Wisely

A diligent ambassador knows the importance of surrounding themselves with people who love, encourage, motivate, inspire, enhance and make them happy. According to quote from Epictetus

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best”.

The company one keeps can lead to negative or positive outcome therefore it is vital to choose wisely. We shouldn’t take lightly the impact that one’s associates have, in 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says

bad company corrupts good character”.

Amnon & Jonadab (2 Sam 13)

This is an example of how bad company has the ability to ruin one’s life. Amnon listened to the advice of his cousin Jonadab and unfortunately this advice resulted in many people being hurt. Jonadab is described as a person who was very crafty, devious, conniving and scheming. Amnon was desperately in love with his half sister Tamar, he became so obsessed over her to a point where it made him ill. So when Jonadab observed that Amnon had something that was troubling him and discovered the root course, he gave Amnon a devious plan on how to get Tamar. The plan was for Amnon to pretend to be sick and request his father to send Tamar to take care of him. Tamar went to Amnon’s place to go do an act of kindness without knowing that her brother had bad intentions about her, Amnon raped Tamar.

Amnon’s lack of self-control over his lust for Tamar resulted in a sister that was wounded for life, she became a desolate woman who stayed in her brother’s(Absalom) house, an angry father, and a brother(Absalom) who became a murderer by plotting his own brother’s(Amnon) death.

A diligent ambassador knows better than to keep company or take advice from anyone who intends harm for another person.

Joseph’s brothers (Gen 37)

When Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him because of their jealousy, Reuben did not endorse the plan. Reuben intervened that they should not kill him because he was secretly planning to help Joseph escape. Unfortunately for Reuben he didn’t get a chance to implement his plan because his other brother Judah suggested to the others that they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders which led to Joseph becoming a slave in Egypt.

Reuben unintentionally became an accomplice of his brother being sold into slavery because of the company he kept. It might be that he was afraid of what his brothers would do to him if he opposed their plan.

This story of Reuben is another reflection on the dangers of keeping wrong company. Many people have ended up in jail because of being accomplices to crimes they didn’t intend to commit but rather were too afraid to walk away because of what their associates might do to them.

A diligent ambassador has the courage to walk away and refuse to partake in any illegal transaction.

Saul’s search for donkeys (1 Sam9)

One day Saul was sent by his father Kish to go search for his missing donkeys, he instructed him to take a servant along with him. After they searched for the donkeys for a long time without any success, Saul decided they should go back home. The servant advised him that instead of them going home empty handed they should rather go see a man of God who lived in that town and was held in high honor by people because everything he said became true. Saul liked the idea but the problem was that he thought they didn’t have anything to give as an offering to the man of God, he didn’t know that his servant had a piece of silver with him. The servant availed his piece of silver to his master’s son in order for them to have an offering to give to the man of God so that he could guide them as to where the donkeys were. The unselfish behaviour of the servant resulted in more than just getting information on where they could locate the donkeys but rather he was the door God used to appoint the first king of the Israelites. The willingness of the servant to use his money made it possible for them to go see the man of God. If he didn’t avail his money they would have gone back home and it would not have been possible for Samuel to meet Saul as the Lord had instructed. Little did the servant know that he was being used as a divine connection as God had told the man of God they were looking for to anoint Saul as king over Israel.

Diligent ambassadors understand the power of choosing associates wisely, associates that are willing to make their resources available to assist where necessary. A diligent ambassador also makes their resources available for their associates. A diligent ambassador is willing to be used by God as a door to another person’s promotion.

Cornelius (Acts 10)

Due to Cornelius prayers and giving to charity, the Lord decided to show him favour. Cornelius had a vision, in which he saw an angel,

Cornelius stared at him in terror. ‘what is it sir?’ he asked the angel. And the angel replied, ‘your prayers and gifts to the poor have not gone unnoticed by God. Now send some men down to Joppa to find a man named Simon Peter. Ask him to come and visit you”.

Cornelius did as he was instructed and whilst waiting for his guest to arrive, he invited his relatives and close friends to also come and receive whatever the Lord had in store for him. Upon Simon Peter’s arrival he shared the gospel with Cornelius and company.

the Holy Spirit fell upon all who had heard the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles too. And there could be no doubt about it, for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God”.

Cornelius relatives and close friends experienced baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and baptism of the Holy Spirit as a result of their association with him. A diligent ambassador invites others so that they may also receive their portion of the favour of the Lord.

Paul and Silas (Acts16)

Whilst Paul was on his second missionary journey he was accompanied by Silas. After they had cast out a demon from a girl, her masters were angry because her deliverance from demon possession meant that she was no longer able to do fortune telling which had earned a lot of money for them, so they plotted against Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas found themselves being surrounded by a mob, stripped and being severely beaten then afterwards they were thrown into prison.

These two epitomises the power of surrounding oneself with positive associates. They did not sit around complaining, or talk about how unfairly they were treated, or the fact that they were wrongly imprisoned, instead they chose to focus on God who has the power to deliver His people from all types of trouble. God in His faithfulness did not disappoint them,

around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off”.

If either Paul or Silas had a negative attitude, this miracle might not have happened but because they had practiced the principle of choosing associates wisely they managed to get out of a tough position. Their positive attitude and trust in God not only benefited them but extended to all prisoners.

Prayer and worship of a diligent ambassador has the power to impact lives and rescuing people from all types of bondage. It is therefore vital for a diligent ambassador to surround themselves with prayerful associates.

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h2<>{color:#000;}. Lead by Example

Lead by example in serving: Dorcas (Acts 9)

This is a principle taught and practiced by our Lord and Saviour. Matthew 20:26-28

whoever wants to be a leader among you must be a servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave, for even I the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many”.

Dorcas is an excellent example of community service, she is described as a woman full of good works and charitable deeds. Her generosity improved the lives of those in her community who were less fortunate. Through her deeds, many people experienced the love of God. So when she died the community was devastated, they knew it was a great loss and thus sought divine intervention. As a result of the cries of the community, Dorcas was restored to life.

As diligent ambassadors we are meant to be in the forefront when it comes to serving and meeting the needs of others. Since we are diverse people, the needs of each community differ. The reason you are staying in that community is because God has assigned you to be His vessel of serving the needs of the people.

Lead by example in obeying God’s instruction: Deborah to Barak (Judges 4)

When Deborah gave a word of prophecy to Barak that he should gather a troop of ten thousand and go to war against Sisera and the Canaanites who had been an enemy of Israel for twenty years, there was hesitation on Barak’s side. Regardless of the fact that Deborah had informed him that he and the troop will come out victorious from the war, he still didn’t have sufficient courage. So Barak requested Deborah to accompany him and the troop, in Judges 4:8 it states

and Barak said to her ‘if you will go with me, then I will go but if you will not go with me, I will not go’”.

Deborah had to demonstrate that she believed the word of prophecy she had given to Barak and that she trusted in God completely to deliver Israel. She didn’t use her gender as an excuse from honouring Barak’s request, she confidently went to the battle to serve her nation Israel. She led by example in an area where Barak had shown weakness.

As diligent ambassadors we must be quick to obey the instructions of God. in 1 Samuel 15:22 it says

what is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings, and sacrifices or obedience to His voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to Him is much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols”.

Furthermore we must be bold and not afraid, as it says in 2 Timothy 1:7

for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.

Lead by example in giving: King David (2 Samuel 6, 1 Kings 8)

When David brought back the ark of God to Jerusalem, it is recorded that he did so with gladness. For every six steps taken by those who were carrying the ark of God, David gave an offering. He made extravagant offering, David cherished the presence of God so much that he gave generously. Solomon also learned this principle of generous giving from his father, David. When the time came to move the ark of God into the new temple that Solomon had built, he also made an extravagant offering. In 1Kings 8:5

king Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed sheep and oxen before the ark in such numbers that no one could keep count”.

As diligent ambassadors we must remember the words of Jesus where He said in Acts20:35

it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

A diligent ambassador obeys God in giving, and gives cheerfully.

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a campaign, to direct toward a particular point or purpose such as giving attention to a particular task.

 

Success Is Attainable

As diligent ambassadors we must be aware that success is our portion, it is God ordained. In Joshua 1:8 it is written that

this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’.

It is vital that we meditate on the Word because when we do so we receive guidance and direction towards success.

As we seek to be successful we should always ensure that we have our ducks in order. God should always be our number one priority, we should not let our passion become the first priority. As Benjamin Franklin said ‘If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins’. We must have our priorities in correct order.

Furthermore as people we need to be realistic, as much as we can have a passion we also need to have the necessary tools such as talent, skills, plan and hard work to support the passion. “Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy” – Robert Half. You know when you watch a talent search show such as idols or X factor, we have seen those people who have the passion for singing but unfortunately have no talent, no matter how hard they can try or get a voice coach they have no chance of succeeding. The same sentiment applies to talent because talent does not automatically lead to success, it needs to be accompanied by hard work. For example top selling musicians, top ranking sports people and the likes don’t become the best in their industry by only using their talent. They put a lot of time into rehearsing so that when they get on stage they will deliver according to what their audience are expecting. The ones who are not willing to put in the work usually ends up not having longevity, whereas the ones who put in the hard work are able to sustain their careers in their respective industry.

Perseverance is another key element in successful people, so we shouldn’t let go of our dreams even when it gets hard. “Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance” – Samuel Johnson. There will be moments when one is tempted to let go of their dreams because of the challenges encountered. When you get to a point of wanting to give up remember the words of John Maxwell when he said “the most common trait I have found in all successful people is that they have conquered the temptation to give up”. If along the way of pursuing your dream you make a mistake, learn from that mistake and move on. ‘The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way .’ -Dale Carnegie. A diligent ambassador knows that the road to success is not smooth it has challenges of various magnitudes hence it is written in Isaiah 40:31 that

those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.

Also a diligent ambassador knows not to rely on their own strength but to rely on the Holy Spirit hence it is written in Zechariah 4:6

“‘not by might nor by power but by My Spirit’ says the Lord”.

Don’t Over Analyse Situations

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged” -Lucille Ball. There are situations in which we will find ourselves which if we over analyse them we can easily become discouraged and/or even depressed. Think of prophet Elijah when he had to stay at the Brook Cherith, a time of isolation, in an era where there was no internet or modes of communication such as we have today. In 1 Kings 17:3-7

Then the word of the Lord came to him saying ‘get away from here and turn eastward and hide by the Brook Cherith which flows into the river Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there’. So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the river Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land”.

Imagine what prophet Elijah had to endure. Even though it was God who had told him to go hide there, yet the brook which was the source of his water supply dried up. Elijah didn’t over analyse the situation rather he kept on trusting in God because he knew his life was in God’s hands.

Now after the brook had dried up the next instruction that came from God was just as odd to a human mind, not easy to fathom. In 1 Kings 17:9 God gives him this instruction

arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you”.

Imagine being a single man and being told to go dwell in the house of a widow? You are single, she is single. This could have led to a train of unanswered questions, such as what’s her age, could this be a match making from God, do I want to be married to a widow, if I am a man how can my ego allow me to be provided for by a woman, if I am a man of God could this not be misinterpreted as exploitation of the less fortunate? An over analysing mind like that would have stopped Elijah from obeying the instruction of God. As a man who was focused on doing the will of God, he obeyed His instruction without any questions.

To be a diligent ambassador one needs to be willing to obey the instructions of God wholeheartedly. We need to remove our ego, selfish ambitions and focus on the plan of God for our lives as seen in the testimony of prophet Elijah. As it is written in John 3:30

“He must increase but I must decrease”.

Our dreams and goals should be aligned to the plan of God for our lives. Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. A focused ambassador knows and emulates this principle.

 

Afterword

 

I hope this book will be a useful tool to enhance your walk of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

You have the ability to succeed in being a diligent ambassador as long as you have a teachable spirit and a positive attitude. Romans 12:2

be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”,

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to give honor to God for the gift He has put in me, allowing me to be His instrument to bring encouragement to fellow believers so that we can run this race of faith with excellence as we pursue to reach the goal.

I would also like to thank my mother Philisia Maimane for being my great support and giving me space to pursue my vision.

I would also like to appreciate my spiritual coach, an apostle of Jesus Christ, that God has placed in my life, and all the fivefold ministers globally that have contributed towards my spiritual growth.


Diligent Ambassadors

As ambassadors of Christ we are to be the most visible symbol of heaven. We have been assigned to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Light attracts and salt is both a flavourant and a preserving agent. Therefore as ambassadors of Jesus Christ we are to attract people into the kingdom of God not repel them. Also we are to be agents of joy and peace to preserve our relationships. In this book I address attributes that I deem to be necessary in order for us to be effective as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

  • ISBN: 9781370443970
  • Author: Tebogo
  • Published: 2017-03-07 18:20:16
  • Words: 20509
Diligent Ambassadors Diligent Ambassadors