Friday, April 10, 2015

Are You Willing to be Different?

Fact: God calls His people to be different. He calls them to live a different lifestyle from the world and to keep themselves free of tainting influences.

Of course, being different can be difficult. It can also make others uncomfortable around you. For instance, in Russia one Christian friend was once told by an unbeliever that he didn't like Christians because they wouldn't smoke and drink and do all the things "normal" people do. (In my younger days, I believed people who actually talked about God and cared about Him were weird. I didn't dislike them, but neither did I want to get trapped in conversations with them. Little did I guess that one day I, too, would become a follower of God. But that's another story!)

Some believers don't like this idea of being different, of standing out from the crowd. They would rather blend in, to go with the flow, to not make waves in order to get along with everyone. But that's not God's call for how to live. Consider these motivating verses:

Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid" (Matthew 5:14).

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [not screwballs, but different] people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

Often, the most memorable characters in God's Word are those who understood the importance of being different, of living by a different standard. Would we today know the name Noah if he had lived like everyone else and gone with the sinful flow of his day? Would we know of Joseph if he hadn't kept his impulses in check and fled from his boss's wife when she invited him to her bed? Would we have heard of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Elijah, Elisha, the apostles, and a host of others who stood out because they took seriously their relationship with God?

If you love God, chances are good that forces are pressuring you to tone down that truth. They want to dim the Gospel in your life and get you to be like everyone else. But what good is a light bulb in a dark house if you don't let it shine? What benefit is there if the good bulb is turned off to resemble a burned-out bulb? As for going with the flow... even a dead fish can do that. Are you no better than a dead fish?

If you're a child of God, don't be pressured into dimming your light. Be willing to be different. Shine for the Lord!

"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

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