I was a typical kid growing up, but by time I entered high school, I knew I wanted to live differently. All around me I saw family and peers make choices that led to bad relationships, self-esteem issues, brokenness, and missed opportunities for their future. It was like watching a Choose Your Adventure Book being lived out right in front of me. I wanted to choose other options when I saw their results. “Ain’t no way I want that to happen to me!” so I purposely tried to live the exact opposite.
For instance, when I was in 10th grade, as my young peers pursued immature relationships or gave up their virginity underage, I gave a persuasion speech about abstinence and why it’s better than safe sex. (For the record, I got a 100% on that speech so BOOM! mic drop) Or as they were getting high and tried to get me to try some, I’d just said, “No thanks” and moved along. Surprisingly I was not uncool or unpopular throughout my high school years and I was well-respected. I might’ve been “weird”, but my peers knew where I stood.
I was different because it boiled down to my resolve of wanting to please God. I knew deeply that God’s way was the best way for my life and I knew that in order to receive that, I just needed to obey Him. As I watched how others lived, it affirmed that God’s calling for us all is so much more. When He is our anchor, there’s more peace, more joy, more satisfaction when we follow God’s ways rather than any other ways.
As Pastor David reminded us on Sunday, God wants us to be holy.
“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” – 1 Peter 1:15
God has called to us to live a life that’s set apart or different from the standards of this world because God isn’t of this world. As others are pursuing money or success, God calls us to be giving and generous. As people move into together before marriage, God calls us to be pure of heart and body. As people are filled with more hate and being divisive, God calls us to love and be unified. Our standards should reflect our faith in who God is and who we belong to.
But let’s be clear. This is NOT an invitation to become “holier than thou”, judgey-judgey, or start trolling people on social media who don’t live the way we do. Instead, take a bite of some Humble Pie. We need to remember that just as God is holy, He is also of love, compassion, forgiveness, and grace. And since we are called to be holy like Him, we are also called to be everything else He is as well.
And the good news is that when we are holy or live differently (also read as “still imperfect”), we become anchors in a world of a chaos. As others are running to and fro pursuing the next big thing or searching for something, our committed and unswerving ways of living will be like anchors on The Rock for others. When others see how we live, they won’t see us, but they will see God’s way — steadfast, secure, and full of peace and truth that is other worldly. They will see that we are a people of love and who can be trusted. The friends who tried to get me to do drugs with them were the same ones that showed up at my doorsteps when their hearts were broken. Though I didn’t (and still don’t) have all the answers, they knew that regardless of the differences in our lives, I was always their friend — hopefully a safe anchor to them in their darkest times — just as God is for me.
Last weekend, Pastor David shared a message on being Different with our values during our weekend services at South Bay Church. If you missed it, you can listen here.
Let’s get the dialogue going! Please share your thoughts in the comments below.