I know, that’s a strange question, but if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that’s exactly what you’re called to be… weird, peculiar, strange… different from the rest of the world of folks who don’t follow Christ. (Romans 12:1-2) We should be weird in the way we behave, how we act and react, and especially, how we interact with others. The Bible says that we will be known by how well we love. (John 13:35)
That’s a tall order, to be sure. How do I love the one who mistreats me, ignores me, favors another, or downright hates me? One thing I know for sure: I can’t do it myself. But God’s Spirit inside me will help me, if I allow Him to. The question for me is: Am I allowing Him to help me? Am I exercising self-control, quenching my own emotions and allowing Him to show Himself?
I can tell you for certain that the answer is “No”. But the fact that I’m even typing this right now tells me that I am ready and willing to allow Him to work. It’s an ongoing work-in-progress for me.
That’s holds true for you, too. We are all a work in progress…
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
So if you find yourself not very different from the world around you, take heart. Don’t give up. If you’re saddened by your behavior, that’s the Holy Spirit working. God’s not finished yet. That reminds me of Pastor Jeff’s favorite Scripture:
… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
I’ve had a few of those in my unsavory, wasteful, selfish days B.C. – before Christ. And those evenings that I had before I gave my life to God are a topic for another day. But what I’m talking about here is that this is the morning after… Easter Sunday.
There are millions of people who came to church, heard the Gospel message, realized that they were living selfishly, and made a commitment to accept the sacrifice Jesus paid at the Cross. They accepted the fact that Jesus is raised from the dead and because of this, they now have eternal life– everlasting life for the world to come and eternal living in the here and now.
But this is Day #1 of this new way of life. They will be looking for examples of what a Christ-follower looks like. They will be looking at you and me. Do I look like the rest of the world or is there something peculiar about me? That’s the question I’m asking myself this morning: Am I different? Do the people around me at home, at work, in traffic, and yes, even in Wal-Mart, see something different? Am I attractively peculiar?
In our men’s group last week, we talked about this and Pastor Brandon repeated something I had read somewhere. He said, “Christians are known more for what they’re against than what they’re for.” They’re known more by the things they won’t do than by the behaviors, attitudes, and words which actually characterize Christ and His early followers.
The behavior, attitudes, and words that a hurting world wants to see in the followers of Jesus is the same behavior, attitude, and words that they heard all about yesterday: a life filled with selfless love and service for others. That’s the kind of life they heard about yesterday. That’s the life of Jesus Christ while He walked this earth in flesh. And that kind of life is very different from the kind of life they see every day in the workplace, on the streets, in stores, and in traffic. That kind of life is peculiar.
It’s the morning after. I want to be peculiar today.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)