"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dare to be Different!

Living for God is hard work! I have not found anywhere in the Bible that states that being called out and set apart from the world would be. As a matter of fact, we as Christians must bear a cross just as Jesus did in order to arrive at our final destination, heaven. In my opinion, the characteristic of Christians being double sided is what makes living life for God such hard work! We have our flesh, and our spirit. When I think about the way we were created, I think of the commercials that have the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. This illustrates perfectly the composition of a Christian.

Once we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and confess that we believe in Him and His Father, we receive the Holy Spirit. I would say this represents the angel. However, our flesh still exists, which represents the devil in the commercial. I was under the impression when I got saved that it would make me a "good girl". At the tender age of nine, I thought that I would never have any problems in life, and everything was going to be perfect. I didn't expect living for my Father to be such hard work!

I have always been a person who kind of does her own thing. I can't necessarily say that in school I really "fit in" anywhere. There have been times in my life where I have felt a little, well, different. At times, I have felt that no one really understood me or knew who I really was. There were sides to me and my personality that went unexplored by those around me. These are the sides that God knows and uses for His glory the most. Have you ever known someone for a long time, but discovered that maybe you really didn't know them after all? You didn't know what they were really "good" at, which we call hidden talents. You may not have known what they really like or dislike. There may even be character traits that they have that you didn't know about, such as being compassionate or generous. Sometimes we hide our best qualities in order to find our place in society. After hidden so long, our passions and best qualities become so lost that even we forget what they are.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, who is really ready for a relationship. She was sharing with me her frustrations about dating in today's society. She shared that she felt she would meet really nice guys, but felt that they always wanted something in return from her. The things they wanted went against her beliefs, and the growth she has made in her personal relationship with God. How frustrating for her! All of these guys communicated to her about how different she was. When they figured out that the difference involved them not getting what they wanted from her, they became uninterested. I am so glad she chose what God placed within her and her growth over a guy!
How many times have we felt like we had to change the person that we were just to befriend someone or to be accepted by society? How many times have we conformed, and felt shame and regret later because we let someone or something influence our life and thoughts so greatly? When I reflect upon my life, I could have saved myself from a lot of heartache and pain if I would have decided to just be me; love it, or leave it. The Bible speaks against conformity in the book of Romans.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)

When God wants to use your life for His glory, sometimes it calls for you to be set apart from those around you. Loneliness may arise because you began to talk different, walk different, and even look different. Everyone around you will not understand what God is doing within you. You may feel different. And, as much as you love the fact that you have forsaken all others and decided to live for Christ, you may feel isolated and lonely. You may have to walk alone on your journey, but as long as you are walking for God, He will provide all the companionship that you need.

Matthew 5:13 and Mark 9:50 refer to believers as "Salt of the Earth." When I think about the taste of salt, different is a word I would use to describe it. There is no other flavor that tastes even close to salt. Salt has its own unique flavor that stands out in any dish. The taste of salt does not conform when other flavors are added. If we are to live for Christ, we must stand out in the world. This may even include our own places of worship and our Christian family. Sometimes the things God are calling us to, other believers of Christ will not even understand.

The beautiful thing about God's instructions is that He doesn't always intend for everyone else to understand what He is doing within you! What God has for you is for you. When we conform, we may miss what God has for us.

This day, I dare you to be different! It will not be easy, and it does not mean that we will be perfect, but it expresses to God our seriousness in trusting Him to supply all of our needs and fulfilling the major purpose and mission He has for our lives! What a difference in our relationship with God it makes when we express and display the uniqueness that He placed within us! Dare to be different!

Lord, thank you for the uniqueness that you have placed within each of Your children. Lord, thank You for creating us for Your special purpose. Help us, Lord to acknowledge and display what You have placed within us to help build Your kingdom, and forgive us allowing others to influence our thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Lord, I have decided to live for You and realize that this may be a difficult and lonely task, but I thank You because I know that You are with me every step of the way. I ask that You order my steps in Your word. Help me stay strong and dedicated to You when the temptation arises for me to conform to the ways of this world. Please continue to show me what You see when You look at me. Thank you for being my Father and my best friend.

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