The fact that we are children of God means, in essence, that we are distinctively different. Fashion urges us to conform to the latest styles, but some people have the knack of looking different, no matter what the prevailing fashion gurus declare! They are quirky and dare to be different, where most of us spend our time trying to fit in and be like everyone else.
God wants His people to stand out, to be different, not to conform to the world around us (Rom 12:1-2). Christians are urged to be distinctively different – not in our fashion tastes, perhaps, but in our deameanour, attitudes and actions. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is perhaps our clearest picture of what this looks like.
So often, we can look like the world all around us. We may be like the Israelites who followed the practices of the nations around them (to their peril). (2 Kings 16:8) We imitate the values and actions of others, even when these are at direct odds with God’s word. (2 Kings 16:15) At times, we allow our worship of God to be mingled with our worship of other things (2 Kings 17:41).
Jesus urged us to live by kingdom standards, to live in a way that acts as salt to a godless society. (Matt 5:13-15) He wants His people to be distinctively different, to live out their birth! This is seen in 3 different areas:
1. our speech – saying kind and gentle things, speaking the truth in love, seeking to build people up, not tear them down, refusing to join in gossip and seeking to find positive things to say.
2. our attitudes – refusing to allow bitterness, envy, pride, unforgiveness and dog-eat-dog attitudes dominate our lives.
3. our actions – living out our faith in practical ways, seeking to reflect God’s nature in all we do.