And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:19
The world is constantly pulling us to conform, to take on the shape of what is around us. It is a battle our flesh deals with every day that we are living on this temporal sphere.
Have we adapted to the world too well?
Learning to adapt is one of the greatest strengths of life on earth. Plants do it, animals do it and we humans do it. It is part of our survival mechanisms. And it can be a good thing. But not always.
God calls us to be a peculiar people!
Are we living our lives set apart from what the world is? Or have we become too comfortable with life in this world? Have we adapted to fit in with the standards of the world; are we living as if the world is our norm? Or are we swimming against the tide?
This afternoon I was listening to Petra sing “Not of This World” – one of my favorites from this old band. As I was listening, there were many thoughts that crossed my mind.
- am I living as a stranger here?
- do I expect the world to agree with me?
- am I surprised and offended when my faith is rejected?
- do I live my life with love toward the lost or with a chip on my shoulder?
So often I look around and see believers whose lives are indistinguishable from the world. And my heart breaks. It really scares me when I see it in myself! I don’t want to take my life with Jesus for granted! I want to be peculiar, to live set apart, yet loving those around me.
How can we be that peculiar people?
One thing I know for sure is that it isn’t done by being obnoxious.
The things that set a true believer apart have nothing to do with being belligerent or offensive or even offended. Quite the opposite, in fact. We are told in the Word that we’ll be known/recognized by our love. Our love for one another (believers) and our love for the hurting, suffering and lost.
So as we seek to become that peculiar people of God, we need to examine our lives to see if we are too comfortable with the world and it’s temptations and offerings. We need to see if the focus of our lives is love. Loving as Jesus loved. Responding with love and compassion when we are wronged. Being willing to be rejected because of our faith (not because we are acting like jerks). And even in the midst of that rejection, to love unconditionally.
The gospel is called Good News. It is good news because we cannot attain it by our own merit or force of will. It is given to us by grace through faith. If God’s love could penetrate our hardened hearts of rejection, shouldn’t we have that same attitude toward those around us? This makes us peculiar indeed!
God’s love is unfathomable by those without His Spirit. But it can be experienced as we express it. That love draws others to Him because it fills a longing in every heart.
Let’s let God’s love so permeate our spirits and souls that we are seen as peculiar: distinctive in nature and character to those around us. Let’s live so that when people look at us loving them, they see Jesus!