Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
Where Are You From?
Having lived in the US for 8 years now. I have grown accustomed to this question. People hear my accent and their interest is piqued. They want to know my story — what brought me here, what life is like where I’m from. It can be uncomfortable, embarrassing even, to be so regularly picked out from the crowd, and in spite of my best efforts, to still be so obviously different.
And yet as Christians, isn’t this exactly the kind of life God has called us to live? Shouldn’t we dare to be different?
The truth is, we were never supposed to be just like everyone else; to ‘fit in’ with the crowd. Instead, as citizens and ambassadors of heaven, we were called to be different. Heavenly sojourners in a broken world. On a rescue mission for Jesus.
It can be a daily battle to live in tension with a secular world. To navigate a culture so very different from our own. A world that doesn’t know Jesus, and doesn’t want to. That doesn’t share His laws, His priorities, His heart. And so we have to stand out, stand our ground, and dare to be different. We must fight the lies of the world with His truth. We should stand firm in the knowledge of who He is, and who we are in Him, no matter what it might take. Despised, ostracized, mocked, and persecuted, Jesus knew the cost of being an outsider too. He lived it, and so do we.
“The world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world” (John 17:14).
It Pays to Be Different
But it pays to be different. When we take a stand for Jesus, the world can’t help but pay attention. Like an unfamiliar accent, the stark contrast of our lives is too obvious to ignore. Our joy, our hope, our love, it draws them in —the hurting, the broken, and the lost. Desperate for a sip of this living water, they drink in His words, quenching a thirst deep inside their souls. And they want to know more. They want to hear our story.
- Why we’re here
- Where we’re from
- Who we belong too
It is a message of love and hope so foreign, so unfamiliar, they can scarcely believe it to be true. And we are the ones He has called and equipped to share it with them.
But do we? Or are we too afraid— to be too different, too offensive, too much? Maybe it’s easier to just be like everyone else. To adjust so seamlessly to the culture around us that we forget it was never supposed to be ours in the first place.
We were called to something more. We have more than what the world could ever offer us. And so, like our Savior before us, we choose to stay the course, dare to be different, run the race to completion, no matter the cost.
Soon, friends, we will be going home, to our true home— and the journey is going to be worth the wait.