Standing out in the world
In my previous post, I discussed why we need to stop trying to fit in because we were born to stand out. But there is a problem when we are standing out in the world. Actually, there are quite a few we can point out.
By following Romans 12:2 and not conforming to society, we need to really study the bible and determine what and who we want to be. This will often take us down a path not typically followed by our peers.
Our peers may distance themselves from us because we live our lives against the grain. We may make our family and friends uncomfortable for the simple fact that we do things differently. People may think you are judgemental, even though you aren’t judging them. For some reason, as soon as you stray off the standard course, people can distance themselves from you. You may feel like you are the only one leading your life the way you are, but I guarantee you are not, as long as you are letting scripture guide your actions. It can lead to loneliness until we find like-minded Christ-followers to do life with.
When we started actively questioning things we did in our lives and various “traditions”, we made some drastic changes based on what we felt would be pleasing to God.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10 NIV
With these changes, we were actively judged by non-Christians and Christians. This caught me completely off-guard at first, although now I’m getting used to it. I was so surprised that I was being judged by other Christians for trying to lead a life according to His Word.
As an example, we reworked how we celebrated certain holidays to ensure the emphasis is on Christ. With this, we received a lot of criticism. I was, at one point, told that I shouldn’t be allowed to be a parent because I am robbing my children of their childhood. But do you want to know the truth? Our children have never once been unhappy with how we reworked our holiday celebrations, in fact they rejoice; they are so excited to celebrate our Lord and spend time with our family that I can tell you that they are not missing out on anything. Our traditions are done in a way we find would be pleasing to God and that is what matters. Not what others think. And not by what society has made us to believe is the best or only way.
Moral of the story, any changes you make, even if they better your life and help you follow a path you believe to be more pleasing to God, will be met with criticism. People will make you believe you are wrong. They will feel the need to justify their decisions by tearing down yours.
Dealing with defensiveness
As I mentioned above, people will feel their need to justify their decisions against what you do. Just by you doing what you do and never once stating that their way is wrong, others will jump to defend their ways.
Keeping with the example above about us reworking our traditions, when we are questioned about how we do things, we always say that it’s our personal choice and that others are free to do what they want. We assure that we don’t judge, because we don’t. The beauty of it is that it is our choice based on our scriptural readings and studies.
Even with the disclosure, people get defensive. As soon as you say you’re doing it based on scriptural reasoning, they assume you are telling them that they are doing something wrong. They may feel convicted and immediately justify their reasons for how they do things. They may tear down your choices in favour of their own and will tout their own scripture too.
The main thing is to look at the scripture in context and to look at the character of God through the whole Bible. Jesus did died for our sins and took a lot of the previous customs and made them unnecessary. But that doesn’t mean we are free to ignore the Words of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, in favour of believing we can do whatever and it be pleasing to God. No matter how you look at things, certain things will always be displeasing to God.
3 Here is what I want you to know. There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will love themselves. They will love money. They will brag and be proud. They will tear others down. They will not obey their parents. They won’t be thankful or holy. 3 They won’t love others. They won’t forgive others. They will tell lies about people. They will be out of control. They will be wild. They will hate what is good. 4 They will turn against their friends. They will act without thinking. They will think they are better than others. They will love what pleases them instead of loving God. 5 They will act as if they were serving God. But what they do will show that they have turned their backs on God’s power. Have nothing to do with these people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV
The good problem
In these situations above (and anything else you may experience due to not conforming to society), remember that God has created you with purpose and gifts to tackle what the world throws your way.
In addition, this scripture may bring you comfort:
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
John 15:18-20 NIV
This scripture gives me comfort because it assures me that when I receive backlash for following my God and Saviour, that I am on the right path. He was despised and rejected, so the chances are pretty good that I will be at times too. But the light at the end of the tunnel is that by going against the grain, you may inspire another to do the same. You may help someone start to question the ways of this world in favour of the world God desires for us. His way is pure. He is with us when we are standing out in the world according to His desires.
Just make sure your choices are guided by God’s Word and not by your own heart. Be in constant communication with Him so that He may guide your feet onto the path He has paved for this new adventure. And above all else:
31 Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
Don’t be afraid when standing out in the world
Many blessings to you! Thank you to all who are following me on my journey; if you aren’t already, please feel free to follow me to get notifications of new posts.