“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2.
Most of us by nature are conformists. We tend to want to blend into the crowd and desire not to stand out as different. As kids we want to conform. And sometimes that is difficult. Who didn’t want a pair of Air Jordan’s when the first model was released in 1985. Not only was Michael Jordan defying gravity and schooling opponents, but his Air Jordans were sought after because everybody wanted to be like Mike. Only people who could afford over $100 for a sports shoe that would last a couple years could be like Mike. Being cool had a steep price.
Today, as adults, we feel similar peer pressure, but the stakes are higher. Now it is cars, homes, memberships, investments, salaries, résumés, benefit packages, and vacation destinations—not to mention all the latest toys, gizmos, and accoutrements. We may call it “staying in style” or “not wanting to fall behind,” but it is the same urge not to stand out as different.
We Christians have another ingredient to add to the mix: our calling. God’s invitation to His family really complicates matters in terms of fitting into society. He has called us out of this world: “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” (John 15:19). God wants us to be different. We are set apart from other people in the world, and asked to steadily widen the gap.
In Romans 12:2, Paul makes a very blunt statement. John is equally as blunt: “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.” (I John 2:15). We are called to be different, to be set apart.
To be set apart means that God has His hand on you for a specific purpose. Today the world has a desperate need for people who are different. One does not obtain that kind of distinctiveness except through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the one that issues the drumbeat of the different drummer. He is the one that calls us to stand out of the crowd, to be distinct, separate, unusual. He calls us to be different.
- Do you feel different as a Christian? How?
- What can you do this week to stand out?