Sunday, September 15, 2013

Different is Good

Different is Good
Sept 16, 2013
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession. . . "

Being different than others is not always a pleasant thing, especially when you want to blend into the crowd.  Sometimes you don't want to stand out but be accepted as one of the group, one who belongs.  We've all felt different at times, wishing we wouldn't be noticed.  It is natural to want to belong, but we must be careful where it is we belong.  The Lord does not want us to belong to the world, only to Him.  Unfortunately, though, we are IN the world; we must endure being IN the world while not being accepted by it.  This creates internal conflict as we must withstand being different.
Scripture says we are to be completely different, unlike the rest of the world.  We are uniquely  His own, regardless of where we live.  Peter discusses this in depth and describes how it should affect our daily lives.  We should have lives free from the world's ways.  We are sacred and special to the Lord and are supposed to act like it.  One translation of the Bible uses the term peculiar.  We should appear peculiar to those outside the church walls.  If we blend in to the rest of society, then we are clearly not peculiar enough.  It is good to be different, as this is required by the Lord.  If strangers cannot see that you live differently, then it is time to adjust your lifestyle.

Living uniquely unto the Lord is not easy however, as our natural inclination is to try and blend in to society.  To accomplish this, Peter gave us the recommendations on how to make it happen.  He said "rid yourselves of ALL malice and ALL deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind."  Obviously, this is easier said than done, however it is a good recipe for being different.  Partial malice and partial deceit do not set a Christian apart from the rest of the world.  Teaching one thing and living another way is not  acceptable.  Having envy actually makes it MORE difficult to live a peculiar lifestyle.  And there are apparently more than one or two ways to slander a person than just gossip.  We all are guilty of these traits, which does not make us uniquely His own, set apart from the rest of the world.

If they did not accept Christ, when He lived among them performing signs and wonders, then they will not accept you or me if we appear to be different.  But that is OK, because that is the way God wants you, the only way He will accept you.  We must live our lives as set apart, not on the outskirts of society but simply not indulging in the same lifestyle as everyone else.  In fact, I've found that strangers are drawn to the light inside of you if you are living according to the Lord's standards.  I'd rather be accepted by the Lord than be accepted by the world any day of the week.  It is not easier but it is better, AND there is a reward for living differently.  If we lose our lifestyle here on earth we will gain a full lifestyle in Heaven.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Philippians 1, 1 Peter 2

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