“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
If you spend time reading scripture you will quickly learn that believers are commanded to stand out and be different. As a child of God, we are supposed to act and think differently than the world thinks. Our call as followers of Christ is to be set apart because Jesus was set apart. Jesus spoke directly about our responsibility to represent Him in Matthew 5:16 when He said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
In this day and age when the truth about God is being blurred, we need believers to be different. But this idea of being set apart does not seem very appealing. After all, who doesn’t want to blend in with those around us? If we don’t blend in we risk being an outcast.
Scripture is full of verses on how to live our lives set apart: “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives…” (Ephesians 4:17-18)
One of the qualities of being set apart is to have an upward and outward focus. The question is are we looking to be served, or are you looking to serve? The believers who most reflect Christ’s nature and heart are those who are constantly looking outward for opportunities and cheerfully pouring out their lives for others. We were not created to just hang out with the people who make us feel good but to love people through authentic relationships and care for those in need. Our purpose isn’t to live a life centered on us but centered on Christ and loving people.
The answer is to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. A Christ-centered life is fueled by a love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our minds and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives; lives which will be better for it. It is then we will be set apart.
- What does it mean to be set apart to you?
- What can we do this week to be more outward-focused?