Here's a cliché for your Tuesday Morning:
Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
Have you heard this one before? Have you ever thought of it in terms of your faith? After all, we are all born again after we accept Christ into our hearts. After we accept salvation, the scriptures says that we are made new. (Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 1 Corinthians 5:17) Our flesh is to die daily as we are made new creatures in Christ, a process we call sanctification.
It is the putting off of habits, attitudes, and thoughts that do not edify Christ. This is something we do as an act of worship so that we can draw nearer to God. Though nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38, 39), our sin can separate us from God's presence (Isaiah 59:2).
Just to paint a picture, it's like Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit. God still loved them and was looking for them to fellowship with, but they were ashamed of what they did so they hid themselves from God.
So we sanctify ourselves, so that the very God of peace will sanctify us wholly. (Leviticus 20:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23) In this way we are loving God, who loves us and helps us to love ourselves, so that we can better love others. We live this life so that others may see Christ in us, and be drawn to Him.
So I wonder how counterproductive it is when we complain about our sanctification to those outside of the faith.
Let me explain.
In a culture that glorifies, "Do whatever feels right", we choose to abstain from sex, drunkenness, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, and a variety of other feel good sins. Yet when our co-workers, friends, or loved ones mention enjoying something that we won't participate in because of our faith, we respond with a sort of longing.
I want you to imagine what you look like to them.
Let me tell you, I found myself doing this recently and I was humbled by how the Holy Ghost dealt with me about it. Here I am complaining to my co-workers about not being able to "turn-up" like I used to, while trying to convince them that they should come to church with me.
I looked silly.
Who wants to serve a God that only tells you what you can't do? I know I wouldn't, and yet there I was sending mixed messages about who God is and what He means to me.
Can you imagine?
It doesn't make sense to people who have no reason to abstain from sin, why we aren't living in ours. As far as they are concerned, if you want to get drunk, then go get drunk! If you want to have sex, than go have sex! If they don't have the same belief system as you they aren't necessarily going to have encouraging words for you to stay steadfast in your salvation.
This is why it's SO important to join a community of believers, or at the very least have friends who are saved just like you. So that when it feels harder than normal, or you are struggling for one reason or another, you have someone who will pray you through, or give you an encouraging word to sustain you. This way you are both encouraged and not a stumbling block to those you are trying to be a witness to.
Lets look at Daniel. He was a Jew in captivity, being trained to be a wise man for the king. The king had a special diet for all of those who were going to be in his inner court, yet Daniel didn't want to defile his body with the king's meat. He offered an alternative solution for himself and the others like him in the king's court. Daniel's alternative was so much better, that after ten days, the eunuchs in charge placed all of the wise men under the same diet.
This is how we are to be in our circles of influence. We have to make God look so good, that after awhile people want what we have. We are supposed to make salvation look so good, that those around us will ask, "What must I do to be saved?"
We were literally born (again) to stand out.
Let's show the world what they're missing.