Thursday, September 3, 2015

One of these things is not like the others . . .

Peculiar, different, distinct, unique, set apart

How do you feel about these words?  Being different from the rest of a group isn’t always fun.  Did you know these words are used to describe both New Testament believers and Ancient Israelites?  In 1 Peter 2:9 KJV, we are called a “peculiar people.”  When the Lord called the Nation of Israel to be His own unique possession in Exodus 19:5, He gave them laws to make them distinct from the surrounding nations.  Some laws, like Exodus 23:19 and Deuteronomy 12:23, guarded the Jews against the idolatrous practices of the surrounding nations.  Some regulations, like Leviticus 14 and 19:7, protected public health.  Some precepts, like Deuteronomy 24:19-21, instructed them in how to show kindness to each other.  But they all helped to create a unique cultural thumbprint from the Jews.  Can you imagine the conversations around ancient water coolers (or those hand-dug wells)?
    “Why don’t you wear garments of wool and flax blended together?” asks a shepherd.
    “Because our God commanded us not to.” responds an Israelite.
    “Why follow a God who restricts you?” inquires a companion of the first shepherd.
     “Let me tell you about our God.  He divided the Red Sea so our people could safely pass.  He fed us in    the barren desert for forty years on mostly manna.  He kept our sandals from wearing out that whole time.  We serve a good and living God.  Would you like to join us?” asks the Israelite. 

I think the same is true of Christians today.  If we follow Christ, we will be a little different than the other people around us.  We aren’t just different to fulfill some need for a unique identity.  We’re a little different to draw attention to who God is. 

But sometimes it’s lonely being different.  You won’t participate in certain activities that almost everyone else is doing.  Other people may not understand your motivation.  They might call you names like ‘weird’ or ‘stuck-up’.  You’re never truly alone because God is always with you, but you might feel lonely.  I’ve found that it’s easier to be different if you’re not doing it alone.  If you are endeavoring to grow as a follower of Christ, let me encourage you to become involved in a fellowship of other believers. It’s more fun when you’re not alone. 

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