You are Called to be Different
On my recent trip to India I had the opportunity to visit the Village of Phephna near Ballia in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It was a joy to experience the hospitality of my new friend Pastor Anil Kumar and his family. It’s hard for those of us who live in first world countries to imagine life in a remote village. The home had rooms with no doors or windows. They only have electricity 8 hours a day. They don’t have running water in their home so they carry it from a faucet in the village. I didn’t ask about the bathroom.
I had gotten used to people looking at me as there weren’t many Caucasians in any of the places I visited. Even so, it seemed that more people in the village were looking at me than usual. As we were leaving my friend Pastor Raja Wilson told me I was the first foreigner to ever visit that village. Then I understood the attention I received. It was me. I was different and different stands out.
There are good ways and bad ways to be different. We like being different in good ways, like having an unusual name or spelling to our name. But we don’t like to be different in bad ways. We don’t want to be different in the sense of being odd or strange. So a little different is okay but too much different isn’t.
With that in mind, think about this. The Lord calls His followers to be different.
This is a consistent message throughout the Bible. Let’s consider one of the first places where the children of God are called to be different Leviticus 18:1-5. In this passage we have the Lord speaking to Moses after bringing the Jews out of Egypt. He calls them to be different. There are three elements of this call.
3 Elements of the Lord’s Call for the Israelites to be Different
- Don’t follow the customs of the Egyptians and the Canaanites. The Israelites were surrounded by people who worshiped false gods. Both were inherently wicked cultures opposed to the Lord God and His standards. The customs are different from today but the situation is the same. Christians are surrounded by cultures that don’t know or follow the Lord.
- Do what the Lord says by following His statutes and judgments. From the very beginning the Lord made His wishes known. He taught His followers what was right and wrong and how to walk with Him in the midst of people far from God.
- Do what the Lord says and live. The principle then and now is the same. All that the Lord commands and teaches us to do brings life. Honesty, integrity and personal purity are not arbitrary standards. Those who follow them live successful and fulfilled lives.
Leviticus is a hard book to read with all of its rules and guidelines. The reason behind them makes it worthwhile. God calls us to be different for Him. He calls it being “holy” Leviticus 20:26. How are you different from your culture? Are you standing out for the Lord?
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