Stand Out and Be Different

One of the great tragedies in life is that people give in and conform to what those around them communicate is suitable, appropriate, and comfortable.  Starting from the presupposition that we are all made in the image of God and that our standard for living is having the mind of Jesus Christ and walking out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.), there is no way that anyone should give up their God given right to live out the individual purpose that the Lord has created them for.  Based on this platform, never forget that:

  • People do not define what you are worth–God does.
  • People are selfish and often do not care about you–God does.
  • People are as different inside (purpose) as they are outside (looks).
  • Following rules, laws, and being obedient to those in charge is NOT sacrificing your uniqueness.
  • Your autonomy is meant to be expressed in the context of community.
  • Standing Out and Being Different should always lead to unifying others in the name of Jesus.
  • Our unique gifts, given by the Spirit of Jesus, are not for us.  They are for others.
  • Not being silenced by those who oppose you, when you follow the Lord’s purpose for your life, is your calling.
  • Where people want you to be silent and change is where you must remain consistent, vocal, and unwavering.
  • Where we separate from everyone else is where we connect with God and where we make the greatest impact for His kingdom.
  • Those who answer the individual call of God on their lives become part of a family that uniquely serve one another by owning and unleashing the special way that God has given only them, to love those in their community.
  • Those who are not following the Lord will always try to snuff out your individuality as a child of God.

For you and for me to live out our purposes, that are defined by God Himself, we must develop a habit of not seeking the approval of other people.  Does this mean you become a rebel?  Do you live as one who has no authority?  Absolutely not.

Remember that before one can actually live out their God given purpose they must first submit to the Creator.  Moreover, the Scriptures clearly teach that submitting to the Lord also entails submitting to governing authorities (Romans 13), one another (Ephesians 5:21-22), and to church leadership (Hebrews 13:17).  The idea here is that when you are submitting in the aforementioned ways, you are submitting to the Lord because He is the one who created the human authority.  But no human authority overrides God.  Sometimes it is necessary to obey God and disobey men because the authority is in error and their directions are sinful (Acts 5:27-29).  But we must take care not to revolt against ungodly leaders who demand we obey their commands.  We are to follow orders.  We are to do what they want.  We are to give up our own desires and follow their rules and laws.

  • Ephesians 6:5-8 says Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ. Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart.  Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.

That is, until they ask us to deny Jesus, His love, and His commands.  In these instances, we must not obey.  Instead, we must do what is right before the Lord and suffer the human consequences of our rebelliousness.  But we don’t rebel because we don’t respect them, or because we don’t think they care for us.  This is not part of our command from God.

Going back to being a rebel.  We cannot be rebels to God’s authority or those He has placed in authority over us–except when they ask us to disobey Him.  In this sense, we become rebels and are often mistaken for troublemakers because we refuse to follow the ungodly expectations of men who follow their own interests rather than God’s.  This was the case for the Apostles in the book of Acts as they went from town to town.  They were constantly accused of stirring up trouble and were often beaten and eventually killed for their lack of conformity to their culture.

CONCLUSION

When you feel all alone in this world because you have decided to embrace the uniqueness that God has wonderfully created you for–REJOICE!

  • Be a reject–by the world’s standards.
  • Be different–by the world’s standards.
  • Be misunderstood–by the world’s standards.
  • You are different individually–as Christians who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
  • You are different corporately–as a church who is separate from the world (Jn. 18:36).

But love the world and die for those who reject you.  Then you will truly be like your Creator who so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, but live forever! (Jn. 3:16)

  • Jesus said:  I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27; 35-36).

 

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