Do you struggle to fit in? I know I sure have…a lot! In today’s culture, there is an overarching, hidden, and yet loud, voice that permeates the ears of those around us. It saturates our media, whether through the news, the commercials, movies, or social media, it works in the background, creeping through the crevices of our minds without much awareness on our part.
This voice is the voice of conformity. We hear about it all the time: The call for everyone to live the same kind of life. For all choices to be made the same way. For all eyes to approve of the same things. For all ears to enjoy the same sounds. For all bodies to look the same shape and size. For all faces to have the same level of attraction or beauty. For all voices, hands, feet, and legs to be the same. Period.
It’s an interesting fantasy; to think that any two people are exactly the same, let alone entire bodies of the population, and yet, there is this subtle suggestion that it is possible.
And, without thinking or analyzing it, we believe it to be true!
Are You a Christian Who Struggles to Fit In? There is a Reason…
Somewhere in the center of our inner psyche, we have received these ideas as though they are true. We believe that the world would be so much better if everyone agreed on everything. It would be this lovely paradise of peace and prosperity if everyone just simply abided by the mantra, “Can’t we all just get along.”
And yet, it is a lie.
…because we are not all made the same, nor intended to be cut and paste people in a computerized world.
We are human beings, designed in the mind our of Creator and made uniquely and intentionally for His good purposes. No two people are the same, even if they have similarities, because God has made it so.
There are always subtle differences. Eyes, nose, ears, voice, attitude, intelligence, wisdom, thought-patterns, likes/dislikes, musical aptitude, language capability, physiological differences in muscle and fat amounts, etc. But, here’s the beautiful thing: every one of these differences is what makes you YOU.
What we fail to remember, when we follow in the encouragement of the world to be just like everyone else, is that when we conform to the single standard of what the world says is “beautiful, good” or whatever else, we give up a part of who we are as individuals. We give up our right to be ourselves, and often we do it willingly.
God did not make us to be like everyone else. He made us to be “set apart,” different, other than the usual, because He has plans for us.
Let’s see what scripture says:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~1 Peter 2:9
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:2
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” ~ John 15:19
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” ~ Psalm 139:13-14
Much of this is simply how God designed humans to be, but add to that the calling once we proclaim a life lived for Him, declaring our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus, and determining to walk a life lived out in obedience to His Word, and you have an even more distinct contrast between us and the world.
Now instead of the basic differences of personality, body type, and likes vs. dislikes, we move deeper into the distinctions of beliefs: immoral vs. moral, drunkenness vs. sobriety, joy vs. despair, vengeance vs. forgiveness, love vs. hatred. And on the list goes.
The Truth is that if we are living our lives in obedience to the Living God, they must look different from those around us.
Our clothing is to reflect modest, humble, and quiet hearts, and there are a lot of ways to dress in such a way. Our attitudes must be gentle, peaceful, and full of humility, even though this takes time and intention to work out within ourselves with the Spirit. Our words need to reflect minds that are renewed day by day “by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:26), as we are gradually sanctified piece by piece as we walk with Him.
If we do not allow this separation from the world to occur- if we choose to conform to the patterns of this world, instead of to the ways of the Lord- we will reap the consequences of our foolishness, potentially leading to hardened hearts from the Lord.
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” ~ Ephesians 4:1
It is not always easy to live set apart. It is not always easy or fun to be different from those around us. It is often quite difficult. Consider our Lord, Jesus. He lived a life that was drastically different from the other “teachers” of the time. He did not condemn others, but welcomed them in. He brought people to humility of heart, rather than puffed them up in the pride of works. He lived separate, different, and set apart…and He died because of it.
But, because of His sacrifice, we live!
Yes, it is hard to live a life set apart for the Lord, but with that continual decision to obey God comes immense blessings that He desires to give to us. God’s blessings are many, and they far outlast those that the world extends as the confirmation of our value (such as entertainment, friends, love, happiness, possessions, the “good life”, etc). God’s blessings are eternal, and they are not apt to change with the winds of time or circumstances.
Though we can and should give thanks for and enjoy the many blessings He bestows upon us in whatever amount He extends, we must also recognize and work to never stray from the recognition that every good thing we receive and enjoy is directly from Him, not our own works or abilities.
When we take hold of the blessings of Yahweh, we experience peace beyond compare.
Let’s, again, seek the Word for these promises:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” ~ Galatians 5:16
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes.” ~ Romans 8:28
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:21
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13
I am sure of this that He who began a good work in You will carry it onto completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6
The blessings of God are many for those who live a life after Him. Conforming to the ways of the world is an “easy” path, but it leads to destruction.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14
We must remember that we are but visitors of this world, bound for our eternal destination in Heaven forever with our Lord.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20
This road of faith is not for the faint of heart. It is, however, going to create in us a new person in Christ. We are transformed in Christ to be conformed to His image day by day, trial by trial, victory by victory. This is the True Way to conform: into the likeness of Christ.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2
What does conformity to God bring about? Wisdom. The wisdom to know His Will for our lives. As a Jesus-follower, there is nothing better.
Do not become just another mindless drone among the masses. Stand firm, stand strong, and become a warrior for our Lord.
It is not as important that you are able to stand out, but more important that you are able to stand.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” ~ Ephesians 6: 10-13
Take your stand, and stand out for God.