What Does it Mean to be an Ambassador?
An interesting statement about Believers is in 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, "…We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God is speaking (or presenting Himself) by us…"
You probably never thought about yourself as being an ambassador before, but what exactly is an ambassador? An ambassador is one who is sent to represent one country or government to another. While in the other country, the ambassador presents and demonstrates all the best that their home country or government has to offer.
When you give your life to God, you become a member of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible says that we are at that moment "translated into the Kingdom of God's dear Son."
So, for the rest of your time here on earth, you're not just here for your own plans or interests, but you're representing Heaven to those around you. As a matter of fact, you're the only real sample of Heaven most people will ever see. What they'll know about God's working in peoples' lives, they'll get from watching YOUR life. Pretty scary? Maybe. On the other hand, it means you're not limited to YOUR resources because you're not out there representing yourself. Since you're representing God's government and HIS abilities, you have access to all the best that He has to offer. Remember, your whole mission is to give people a sample of what it is to have God at work in a person's life.
Ambassadors come from a wide variety of backgrounds with different personalities and upbringings. Still, they must develop and refine several personality traits and character virtues to be successful. These characteristics are similar to those we must develop as current ambassadors for Christ to be equipped for our future roles in the kingdom.
3 Characteristics of a Good Ambassador
1. A firm foundation is critical for an ambassador.
He or she must be a strong leader, respected and trusted, passionate about their job, with a strong sense of patriotism for their home country. Our foundation is, likewise, of absolute importance. Without a growing relationship with Jesus, we cannot succeed in our quest for the kingdom—our ultimate home country (Heb. 6:1). They also need to be well-educated about their home and host countries' history and current circumstances, understand potential obstacles, read situations, and know the best course of action. Paul tells us we, too, must "be very careful how we live. Live wisely, not like fools, using every opportunity we have for doing good, because these are evil times. So don't be foolish with your lives, but learn what the Lord wants you to do."(Eph. 5:15).
2. Ambassadors must always be conscious of the fact that they are a minority in their host country (as God's people are in the world) and be able to relate to many different types of people (I Cor. 9:19-22).
They must always be diplomatic, using tact, wisdom, and discretion to navigate a foreign country. As Christ's ambassadors, we must remember that we are not told to go around offending people left and right, even when we disagree with the way they're living their lives. If you look at Christ's example, the only people he strongly chastised and offended were the Pharisees who set themselves up as spiritual leaders and led the people astray. Christ was loving, conciliatory, and forgiving toward the tax collectors, prostitutes, cripples, and others looked down on by society.
Paul gives us a good rule of thumb to live by, saying, "when you talk, don't say anything bad. But say the good things that people need, whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you." (Eph. 4:29). In other words, a good ambassador (whether worldly or of Christ) knows when to speak and that sometimes keeping your mouth shut is the wisest and most loving course. Just because something is true does not make it right. We're told our speech should be "with grace, seasoned with salt"—in other words, adding flavor and benefiting the hearer (Col. 4:16). We are always to be ready to give an answer, but an answer that is right not only in content but also in tone and communication for the audience.
3. A good ambassador is entirely grounded in ethical and moral judgment because they are constantly facing situations that do not have black-and-white answers.
The only way for Christ's ambassadors to be able to do this is to have God's spirit dwelling in them and be connected to Him 24/7. Solomon prayed for the same kind of discernment when he was anointed king of Israel, saying, "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil" (I Kings 3:9). Centuries later, Paul wrote to Timothy that he must "be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). Our role in the kingdom will be ruling, leading, and judging the nations, and we have to be preparing for this in our physical lives today.
In sum, all ambassadors have one thing in common: they believe in the mission, goals, and values of the countries, communities, and businesses they represent, and they're willing to share it with others. We are called to be strangers in this world—not to blend in, but proudly represent and advocate Christ within our countries, communities, and businesses as well as we possibly can. God has entrusted us to be ambassadors. Topoint people back to Jesus and how HE works in the world, and walk as Jesus walked on this earth. God has given us this right and ability to do so; so let us walk out in it!