Friday, February 11

Standing Out (of Place)

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. --2nd Corinthians 6:16-17a

At one point or another, nearly everyone has felt out of place. I thought that once I wasn't a high school or college student anymore, those feelings wouldn't happen, but that's just not so. When my husband and I were looking to become more involved at church, we had a very difficult time feeling like we "fit" somewhere. We checked out a few different small group opportunities, feeling a lot like Goldilocks sampling the bears' porridge. Once we found a place for us that was "just right" , it became easier to feel at home at our church. Outside of the church though, some social situations for example, we still feel out of place at times.

Last night I spent some time pondering the whole thing about feeling out of place, and I came to the conclusion that there are a number of situations where it is perfectly acceptable to not fit in. Suppose you're around co-workers who habitually use profane language. What is to be gained by adopting similar behavior? Another example would be speeding on the freeway. That may sound like a silly example, but is it really worth fitting in by keeping up in 85 mph traffic? The risk of getting a ticket or having an accident is certainly not worth speeding just because everyone else seems to be doing so.

Other situations in life can make us feel pressured to keep up in the fast lane. As Christians we are set apart by God, and it is natural that this would make us feel out of place at times. In fact, if we are to stand out as a witness of our Christian faith, then being out of place is actually a requirement! I'm not saying we need to call unnecessary attention to ourselves, but we do need to somehow identify ourselves as being different. We don't need to keep up with the fast lane people if it means compromising our Christian beliefs.

In a number of different ways, Jesus instructed us as to how we are to stand out. He commanded us to be salt and light. He talks about the Christian community as being a city on a hill, and a light that should shine to all men. He tell us that our lifestyles should be such that they point unbelievers heavenward. We are even told that we are not to be surprised if the world hates us because of this.

If we ever feel out of place, we need to remember that it is only because our true place is our home in heaven. So long as we are here on earth, being a Christian will always put us in a position of being out of place. We can decide one of two things. We can spend our time attempting to fit in with the world, or we can embrace the fact that we stand out and use it in a positive way to glorify God.



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