How much do I stand out from those around me?
A life of obedience to God’s commands pretty quickly sets us apart. There are activities that we won’t participate in, moral boundaries that we hold ourselves to, and habits that we work diligently to maintain.
Church attendance, tithing, Bible reading, protecting our purity, moderation, and integrity all tend to make our way of living a bit different from the cultural norm.
Really, this “otherness” started back at the beginning. Jacob’s descendants were clearly seen as different from others.
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” . . . 5 And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:2-3,5 ESV)
While our actions and decisions may set us apart, it is God’s response that makes it even more noteworthy. He responds to a life lived in obedience and those around us cannot help but take note.
“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, (Job 2:3)
God pointed out Job to Satan because Job chose the higher path. His wife didn’t know how to handle the suffering and broke down. Job still had lessons to learn, but he also at least refrained his lips from speaking against God.
Jumping to the life of Christ in the book of Mark, we find the community that he grew up in struggled to make sense of Him. They simply could not believe.
“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter . . . ” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)
God’s work on earth doesn’t always make sense to the non-believing mind. It usually causes a stir, and we should expect to stand out as not-of-this-world.
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
We are free. Free to walk in His power. Not bound by sin. Not held back by guilt. Not seeking the approval of the world or our neighbor.
We might look a little weird at times, but if we do, we are in good company.
Lord God, you have done an awesome work to transform my simple self into one that shines Your light and can walk obediently in Your Word. Give me boldness to be different and perseverance when walking with the crowd seems the easier path. My life doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but You. In Jesus Name, Amen.