Dear Younger Me,
If you’re going to live as a Christian in a secular culture, you are going to have to get used to being different!
As you get older, you’ll see more and more that the values you choose to live by are very different to the values of the world around you, and that is not always going to be easy.
It will be tempting to try to fit in at times. There will be occasions when people misunderstand or disagree, and often they will look at the way you live as if you are trying to follow a set of rules instead of focusing on following Jesus.
Let me encourage you that it’s okay to be different, but to make sure that you’re different in a good way! Let me explain…
All through the Bible, God’s people are called to be different from those around them. After the Israelites fail to enter the Promised Land because of fear, God laments their lack of trust but points out that:
“My servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored.” (Numbers 14:24 NLT)
Different is good when it means remaining faithful to God amidst others who are unfaithful.
Jesus also instructs his disciples that their lives are meant to be different:
“You know that rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different: Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:42-43 NLT)
Christians are called to radical lives of love and service, even towards their enemies, that should make them stand out from those around them and should point to Jesus.
However, some Christians can fall into the trap of being different in a less-helpful way – coming across as judgemental and critical, rather than showing love. Please remember that no matter how different you are from someone else, and no matter how much you may disagree with them, they are still someone made by God and deeply loved by him, so treat them as such.
Being different is a wonderful opportunity to witness if you do it well. It is also a great reminder of God’s love and grace. Just last week a friend told me about uncertainty that she is facing over the future of her job, and I was struck by the depth of her anxiety and her struggle to cope. I remembered being in a similar situation a few years ago (don’t worry – it works out fine!) and the peace I had that, whatever happened, God had a plan and it would be ok.
It made me realise how happy I am to be different. I can’t even imagine how people make it through the trials of life without Jesus, nor do I want to try!
So live a life that is different and distinctive, but let it be one marked by faith, hope, and love, pointing others to Jesus!
This post is part of “Dear Younger Me…” – a series for Write 31 Days in October 2019. Each day I am basing my writing on the one-word prompt provided. Today the prompt is “different.” You can find an introduction to the series and an index of all the posts here, and you can find out more about the challenge and check out other people’s series here.