I hate sticking out.
So often I want to blend right in with the crowd. The thought of being singled out or ridiculed because I might be different from others in a particular area is just plain awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t exactly enjoy standing up for what I believe while everyone else standing around isn’t afraid to let you see them smirk at your “queerness” – especially when it concerns my faith.
And yet, that’s exactly what I’m called to do.
Whoever thinks that being a Christian will be easy couldn’t be more wrong. We are constantly fighting against our “Old Man” with the desires and passions to serve and please ourselves, and the “New Man” that seeks to honour and glorify Christ. And the struggle is never-ending.
We know and have seen in our lives how God is more than sufficient to help us through our trials, struggles, difficulties, and temptations. We have witnessed and celebrated victories in our spiritual lives and sanctification that we sometimes wondered if they were even possible. We’ve brimmed with passion for Christ and have made numerous sacrifices for His glory.
But sometimes, despite all we have seen and known, we look back at what we’ve been saved from, and we want it again. We want the ease of life and comforts that the world around us has, and in our hearts, we wrestle with why we bother to keep living a life for Christ when at times it may feel meaningless.
Paul was not unaware of this temptation. When writing to the believers in the church at Philippi, he pleads with them not to abandon their faith for the enjoyments of the temporary, but to instead keep their minds focused on the matters of eternity:
“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” ~ Philippians 3:17-4:1
As Christians, we are citizens of God’s kingdom.
We have been chosen and love by God, and we have been given freedom from sin and adoption as sons. Christ has paid the price for all our sins, and we stand before God in Christ’s righteousness. We are co-heirs with Christ, and we will reign with Him forever in eternity.
Are we seriously willing to forsake all this, merely for the sake of superficial pleasures for a few short years? Are we more desirous for our sinful passions to be satisfied, or for God’s glory to consume the universe?
Who are we living for?
I know the struggle is so very real. I know all too well the temptation to fit in, the struggle to resist being conformed to the world.
But living for Christ is worth it. You may struggle now, but you will rejoice when you see God face-to-face.
Beloved: don’t conform.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:1-2