Decidedly Different
by Dee Bowman

To suggest that the Christian is different is to state the obvious. He cannot be what he is and be the same as everyone else. Peter says it well: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Three things stand out in this passage: the priesthood comes of a connection to royalty; the nation is one that is sanctified; and the people are peculiar, which means they are distinctive, not ordinary. All three of these things speak to the kind of people who have chosen to follow God.

        There are several areas in which Christians are–and must be–different. I have chosen four to discuss briefly.

        The Christian is decidedly different because:

        He sees a bigger picture. His view is not focused on this world only, but on the world to come. In fact, he is impressed with the transitory nature of all that appertains to this world to the point that he puts only relative value on things of the earth. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” says John (1 John 2:15-17), “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, with the lusts thereof, but he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever.” The Christian sees further, sees more clearly, sees more joyfully than the person in the world. He has a higher view.

        He serves from a higher motive. He is not energized by the same things that energize the people of the world. Paul emphasizes our motive when he says, “And above all these things, put on love which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:14). Love is the divine motive and it provides the impetus for all the Christian’s actions. He begins and ends all that he does out of love for God and love for his fellow man (Matt. 22:37), seeing the possibility of service to both as the real road to happiness in his life. Love is not just an emotional experience to the Christian; it is an energizing force leading to holiness, piety and good works.

        The impressions on his mind come from a different source. A Christian’s mind is tuned to a higher frequency, open to a more lasting influence. He understands the value of higher thinking and godly impressions. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8), is Paul’s way of getting the right impressions into the mind of the Christian. The true child of God will find ways to make sure these impressions are a reality in his mind, thus producing a force for good in his life.

        He regards his being as a privileged obligation. The Christian sees himself as having real worth only because of his connection to his Master. In his mind he sees his life as having been purchased for a reason–to bring honor and glory to his Father and His Son. “I beseech ye, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:2). To him that means he is constrained to voluntarily present himself to His God on a daily basis, to render to Him his love, respect, and faithfulness, and, by so doing, to let his light so shine that others may see Christ living in Him (Matt. 5:16). In seeing himself as given over to God, he sees himself as proving “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

        Yes, we’re different. Not odd, but different. Not social mis-matches, unfit for society, but peculiar in a special and holy way–one calculated to bring honor to God.

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