Do you sometimes wonder why songs get stuck in your head? Or surprised when you suddenly start singing the lyrics of an old song and wonder how that happened? I have had part of a song going through my mind for a few weeks finding myself singing it often. I remember it as a country love song so was surprised to be thinking of Jesus while singing it. I am not a country music fan (sorry) so thought it strange I knew this song but when I researched it, I discovered it was actually written by a Christian songwriter, Archie Jordan, as a testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ. No wonder this song was infusing my mind making me speechless at the thought of Jesus! I’m not sure if I remember it performed by B.J. Thomas or Ronnie Milsap who took it to number one on the Country chart in 1977, but the song is “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life”!
Each time I “sang” it my thoughts immediately went to what a difference Jesus has made in my life yet I could still not put words to those thoughts. I felt God wanted me to ponder the significance of His difference in my life and so for weeks I have done just that! Even today I still cannot fully enumerate or measure the difference Jesus has made in my life but I am overwhelmed with awe, gratefulness, and appreciation in knowing Him! Perhaps that is enough reason to sing this song – to be infused with His difference!
But it also got me thinking about what it means when we say something or someone has made a difference in our lives. Making a difference includes alterations, modifications, transformation, or positive change! Praise the Lord for coming to convert and completely revolutionize our way of “doing” life when we let Him! We actually exchange our lives for His life which makes the change (the difference) with Jesus astronomical! What a difference He makes in our lives!
Though it is impossible to spell out all the ways Jesus has made a difference in our lives it is to our benefit to at least begin detailing His influence. Being specific increases our awareness of His difference and focuses our attention on what is changed as a result of knowing Him! This is especially useful at times of discouragement when we think we have made no progress in the Lord at all! Recollecting the difference Jesus has made in our lives casts discouragement out replacing it with the Spirit’s encouragement!
Speaking only in “generalities” keeps us distanced from the difference Jesus has made in our lives. In other words if we limit our thoughts to the general statement “What a difference He has made in our lives” without ever acknowledging specifics we can keep Jesus at arm’s length in regard to intimacy, thus overlooking the difference He has made!
Here are some specifics I came up with to show His difference in our lives!
His difference distinguishes between death and life, failure or success, discouragement or encouragement.
His difference reminds us we are not rejected but highly favored, not cowards but bold and courageous, not hopeless but filled with hope!
His difference teaches us we need never be lonely because we have an ever-present Friend, and we need not live “in the rut” because His life is limitless.
His difference moves us from the mundane to extraordinary, from distrust to total trust, from doubting to confidence, from a wavering faith in ourselves to immeasurable faith in Him, from friendship with the world to friendship with Almighty God, from gaining worldly knowledge to being Kingdom wise!
His difference catapults us from selfish love to agape love, from fear to faith, from guilt to innocence, from condemnation to redemption, from miserable sinner to forgiven saint.
His difference frees us from an “earning” mentality to living in grace, from a rebellious spirit to one of submission and obedience, and from feeling powerless to walking in His authority!
What a difference He has made in our lives and continues to make! And yes! I could go on and on and on because it feels so good to “count” His difference and tell Jesus how much I appreciate Him changing my life!
But still after all of that, I am still singing “What a difference You’ve made in my life” and finding myself speechless at the immensity of His difference! So I asked God why am I still speechless? And He smiled! He LOVES to see us speechless in His presence. He delights to see us stand in awe of Him! It isn’t a bad thing to be speechless in His presence! We are meant to soak in the simplicity of His difference in our lives much like we soak in a hot bubble bath. All the aches, pains, and cares of the world flow out of our bodies, minds and spirits as we consider what a difference He has made in our lives!
If we stop and subtract all the worldly things from our life in Christ, it will equate to the difference Jesus makes! Personally, I am continually stunned by His presence, awed at His Majesty, comforted by His peace, and immersed in His embrace! Knowing we get to marinate in His “difference” which tenderizes us for the transformation we experience in Him is indescribable.
Some days I need to make a fresh commitment to Jesus, surrendering all of me once again in order for His difference to be realized! It seems as though I often take my life back from Him, choosing to do my thing instead of His thing but today, I remember the difference He has made in my life! Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Throughout my lifetime God has put me in the right place at the right time with the right people if I simply will see, trust and obey. For example I had no thoughts or intentions of going to college after high school even though I loved learning. It was just never a discussion or option in our home. But God provided a coach/friend in my life who saw something I didn’t see and took the first step by talking to college coaches on my behalf, thus opening a door at a Christian college. While there I continued to take part in athletics, get an education, and meet my lifetime best friend, my husband Mark. I knew God had me on His mind! What a difference He has made in my life! Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jesus baptized me with water, Spirit, and fire! Through baptism He took me under, lifted me up and consumed me in every way. He took me under through water and the blood to wash and purify me from my uncleanness. He lifted me by the power of His Spirit that I might soar with the eagles to avoid weariness and fainting in this lifetime. Our God is a consuming fire purging me of sin and the lusts of this world. One word comes to mind when I think of baptism – Exhilarating! What a difference He has made in my life! Matthew 3:11 “”I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Then we get to move on to the reality, as the song portrays, He is our sunshine day and night! He is the Light of the World! What a heart throbbing truth to know He shines and pierces the darkness! What a difference it makes to walk in the light of life! John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
As dramatic a truth it is to know Jesus IS the Light, it is even more striking to fathom His shining on us because of the Son’s effect on others as we reflect the Light of the World everywhere we go! Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
As a result of His shining day and night we get to shine! Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” What a difference He has made in our lives! We shine because He shines! Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Notice the correlation of glory with shining! Shining brings the glory! When we shine in Jesus we bring Him glory! When we shine, people will see and glorify our Father in heaven! Light is commanded to shine! 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Truly Jesus is our Sunshine day and night and as we reflect Him to the world what a difference we will make in the lives of others! What difference has He made in your life? I hope you feel encouraged to explore and do the math! And then experience more of His difference in your life today!