Stand Out From the Crowd
“Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.” – Vs 17a NLT
We are to be different. As Christ followers, we are called to a life of distinctiveness and difference. Ours is not to be a life marked by commonality and more-of-the-sameness. No, we are to stand out from the crowd. Not in a prideful, arrogant way, or in order to draw attention to ourselves, but because we are children of light living in the middle of darkness. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has given us new life. He has given us new power through His indwelling Holy Spirit. We are new creations. “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (Romans 6:4 NLT).
We are not the same anymore. We have been changed and are being changed with each passing day so that we have a greater and greater resemblance to Jesus Christ. “And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT). So instead of blending in, we should stand out. We should be distinctively different. But the sad case is, for many of us, we tend to look and act like the world around us. We have lost our distinctiveness. We have failed to be unique. How? By buying into the lie that to reach the world we must be like the world. We believe that in order to become like them to be liked by them. But Jesus warned His disciples, “The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you” (John 15:19 NLT). In His High Priestly prayer, He asked the Father, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am” (John 15:15-16 NLT). We are not of this world anymore. This world is no longer our real home. We are not to have a love affair with this world. Yet we are to live in it. And we are to make a difference while we are here. But we can’t do that if we lose our distinctiveness, if we lose our unique flavor as followers of Christ. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world––like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT).
We are called to live distinctively different lives. We are called to uniqueness, not uniformity. We are called NOT to live like the world, but to live like Christ in the midst of it. To be salt and light. To add the distinctive flavor of Christ-likeness and the illuminating influence of our Spirit-filled lives. We are to make an impact on the world. Jesus prayed that we would: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father––that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21 NLT).
Father, You have called me to a life of distinctiveness. But I struggle constantly with conformity to this world. My flesh wants to fit in rather than stand out. I fight the desire to be loved by the world. But Your Son didn’t die for me so that I could remain just like I was. He died to give me new life and a new message of hope to a lost and dying world. Help me to live a life of separateness, a life of distinctiveness. Help me to be the salt and light You have called me to be, so that the world will see the difference You can make in a man’s life and believe in Your Son who makes it all possible. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men