Different is okay now; but it wasnít always.
Peer pressure is real. The pressures of elementary school seem tame when compared to the present, but they were intense then. A certain brand of tennis shoes, a particular name on my jeans, or letting the lazy students who were bullies copy my homework or gaze on my test. Pressures were more intense in the teen years. Drinking, smoking, and using drugs were the big three. In adulthood, the pressures became more subtle but were just as penetrating. Re-think what I believed about God, cheat on my wife, fudge on my income tax return, steal from the boss, and call in sick when I wasnít. Sometimes I gave in because I didnít want to be different.
Israel entered a period when they didnít like different either. Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with SamuelÖGive us a king to judge us like all the other nations have (I Samuel 8:4-5 NLT). Israel was a theocracy, so their request was a rejection of God. He granted their wish, but didnít remove the consequences.
The nature of Christianity entails living differently. God requires me to separate myself from impure and unholy things (II Corinthians 6:17). At salvation, he pronounced me holy through my acceptance of Jesusí sacrifice, and living as if Iím holy should follow. I canít shadow the crowd because the crowd might be wrong.
Iíll admit-different isnít always comfortable. Peer pressureÖin whatever form it appears, is sometimes difficult to resist, but God provides the strength I need to adhere to his guidelines. I may be labeled and avoided because Iím distinctive, but God places his soothing salve of comfort on rejectionís emotional hurts.
Is different okay for you? If not, trust God for the courage to let it be.
Prayer: We acknowledge, eternal God, Your call for us to act and think differently. Give us courage to follow You regardless of how it makes us appear to others. www.lovelinesfromgod.com
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