When Moses met God in the burning bush, he asked Him, “But what will I say Your name is?” Everyone, everywhere at that time had a god. There was a sun god, a water god, a sky god, a frog god, a wind god. Why should these people care about this God? His response began the journey that ends in Christ:
From the beginning, God told us He is not like any other god. In Isaiah, He says “My thoughts are not your thoughts; My ways are not your ways.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) In church, we use a fancy religious-y term called holy. It is the only attribute of God repeated-holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty. All it means is set apart, different, not like anything else created.
On that mountain, God told Moses I am not like those gods. Those gods create out of necessity and lust; I created out of love and glory. Those gods required children sacrifice to appease their thirst and blessing; I will send MY Son to reconcile creation back. Those gods say you are not worthy and you must seek them; I seek after you passionately and relentlessly. Those gods explain how you got here; I show why you are here.
So is it any shock that Christ in the New Testament calls us to die to ourselves, so we can live? That we become a bond-servant to Christ to become free? 1 Peter 4 reminds us that our calling is different because the One we follow is different. And to the world, how we live will seem stupid, or archaic, or insane. You give up your free time to help stuff papers and teach kids? All of your Sundays are gone because you have to go to church? You sacrificially give money away to help others when you could be buying things for yourself and your future? You choose to not live with your partner, when it can save money and test out where things are going? What’s the point of integrity in the work place – it never leads to success? You don’t get buzzed, even just to take the edge off of a hard day? That is so stupid.
“They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.”-1 Peter 4:4
God calls us to be different, because He is different. Our calling and purpose is not driven by self, pleasure, fame, and wealth. It is driven by love, compassion, servant-hood, grace, and hope. How you love in your marriage is going to be different. How you parent is going to be different. How you are a friend to others will be different. How you react to a jerk in traffic will be different. Everything inside of you is going to pull you back into what the world does – it is a daily struggle. So be rooted in Scripture, consistent in prayer, and have a thankful heart. It being hard is a sign you are headed in the right direction.
“…since it is written, ‘You shall be Holy, for I AM Holy.” -I Peter 1:16
Last week, during our weekend services at South Bay Church, Pastor Philip shared a message on being called to be Different in a dark world. If you missed it, you can listen here.