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Call to Be Different


Introduction

The concept of being called to be different is deeply embedded in biblical teachings. Throughout the Bible, individuals are called to live lives that reflect the values and principles of God, setting them apart from the norms of the world. This divine calling challenges believers to embrace a distinctive lifestyle, one that stands out as a testament to their faith and obedience. In this exploration of the biblical perspective on being called to be different, there are scriptures, stories, and teachings that highlight the importance of living a life that reflects God's transformative power.


The Foundation of Being Called to Be Different

The Bible opens with the creation of humanity in the image of God Genesis 1:26-27 NIV. This foundational truth establishes the uniqueness of every individual, as they bear the divine imprint. Being called to be different begins with recognizing and embracing this inherent dignity, which sets humans apart from the rest of the world. The responsibility to reflect God's character becomes the cornerstone of an individual life.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, In the image of God he created them; Male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 NIV

A Peculiar People

Being peculiar means being different or unique in a special way. Peculiar people stand out from the crowd because they don't follow the usual rules or norms. Instead, they embrace their individuality and do things in their own distinctive manner. It's about being true to oneself and not being afraid to express one's personality, even if it means being a bit unconventional. Peculiar people often bring joy and positivity to others by showing that it's okay to be different. They teach us the value of accepting ourselves and others for who they are, celebrating the diversity that makes life interesting.

In the book of Exodus, God sets the Israelites apart as a "peculiar people" Exodus 19:5-6 NIV. The covenant established with Moses on Mount Sinai emphasizes the need for obedience to God's commands, which would distinguish them from other nations. This covenant lays the groundwork for the idea that being called to be different is not just an individual mandate but extends to the community of believers.

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,

you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:5-6 NIV


Embracing Holiness

The book of Leviticus repeatedly emphasizes the call to holiness, echoing God's command, "Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy" Leviticus 19:2 NIV. Holiness, in the biblical context, implies being set apart for a sacred purpose. This mandate challenges believers to live following God's standards, cultivating a life that reflects His righteousness. Embracing holiness, as depicted in the Bible, is like following a divine roadmap that guides us towards a life filled with goodness, righteousness, and love. In simple terms, holiness, according to the Bible, is about aligning our lives with the teachings of God and embodying His virtues.


The Bible, a timeless source of wisdom and guidance, emphasizes the importance of holiness in both the Old and New Testaments. In Leviticus 19:2 NIV, God instructs His people, saying, "Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy." This sets the foundation for the concept of holiness as a reflection of God's character. Embracing holiness, therefore, is an invitation to mirror the love, compassion, and righteousness of the Divine in our own lives.


One of the central messages in the New Testament is the call to holiness through Christ's teachings. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." While perfection may seem unattainable, the underlying message is a call to strive for moral and spiritual excellence, guided by the example set by God. Embracing holiness involves living a life of love and kindness, as the Bible reiterates. In 1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV, it says, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy because I am holy.'" This emphasizes that holiness is not merely a set of rules but a way of life that permeates every aspect of our being.


Forgiveness, a crucial aspect of holiness, is emphasized throughout the Bible. In Ephesians 4:32 NIV, it states, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Embracing holiness involves letting go of grudges and extending forgiveness, mirroring the divine forgiveness we receive. Gratitude is also highlighted in biblical teachings as an integral part of holiness. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV, it says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to the abundance of God's blessings, fostering a spirit of holiness.

The Bible teaches that holiness extends beyond religious rituals; it encompasses how we treat others. In Micah 6:8 NIV, it states, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Holiness, according to the Bible, involves acts of justice, mercy, and humility in our daily interactions. Embracing holiness, as outlined in the Bible, is a journey of aligning our lives with God's divine principles. It involves living a life of love, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude, reflecting the character of God. The Bible serves as a timeless guide, urging us to strive for moral and spiritual excellence, recognizing that the path to holiness is a transformative and fulfilling journey.


A Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation

The New Testament echoes the call to holiness, with 1 Peter 2:9 NIV describing believers as "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession." This reaffirms the Old Testament theme of being set apart, emphasizing the continuity of the divine calling across both covenants. The Christian life, grounded in faith in Jesus Christ, calls believers to embody holiness as they navigate the challenges of the world.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV


Standing Firm in Faith

Having a strong belief in something despite obstacles is known as standing firm in one's faith. It's about believing in yourself or a higher power, and it's about maintaining your integrity. It's clinging to optimism and refusing to let uncertainty rock your foundation during difficult times. Religion, oneself, or the goodwill of others may all be sources of faith. It gives you support and direction when faced with uncertainty. Strength, perseverance, and a solid spirit are necessary for standing tall. A steadfast dedication to your convictions offers consistency and direction in life's fluctuations.


The story of Daniel and his companions in Babylon exemplifies the call to be different in the face of adversity. Despite being in a foreign land with different customs and beliefs, Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king's food Daniel 1:8 NIV. His unwavering commitment to God's principles set him apart, showcasing the strength that comes from being called to be different even in challenging circumstances.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8 NIV


Do Not Conform to the Pattern of This World

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, urges believers not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds Romans 12:2 NIV. This transformation involves a radical shift in perspective, aligning one's thoughts and actions with God's will. The call to be different is a call to resist the pressures of the world and stand firm in faith.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV


Love and Compassion:

Love and compassion are powerful emotions that bring warmth and kindness to our lives. Love is a deep affection and connection towards others, while compassion is the empathy and understanding we extend to those facing challenges. These sentiments create bonds, fostering a sense of community and support. Acts of love and compassion, whether small gestures or grand efforts can make a positive impact on individuals and society as a whole. By embracing love and compassion, we contribute to a world where understanding and care prevail, creating a brighter and more harmonious existence for everyone.

Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount challenge conventional wisdom by calling believers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them Matthew 5:44, NIV. This radical approach to love sets Christians apart, demonstrating a love that transcends societal norms. Being called to be different involves extending love and compassion even in the face of adversity.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44 NIV


Bearing One Another's Burdens

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphasizes the importance of bearing one another's burdens Galatians 6:2 NIV. This communal aspect of being called to be different underscores the interconnectedness of believers. The distinctive life is not lived in isolation but within a community that supports and uplifts each other.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV


The Transformative Power of Grace

Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV highlights the transformative power of grace, emphasizing that believers are saved by grace through faith, created in Christ Jesus for good works. The call to be different is not based on human effort alone but on the divine grace that enables believers to live out their calling. This section explores the balance between faith and works, emphasizing the role of grace in the transformative journey.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 KJV


Grace is a concept that is often linked to heavenly favour and goodness, but it also has a transformational force that transcends religious settings and touches the human experience. Grace is best described as an undeserved favor or gift that is offered freely and without expecting anything in return. This transforming power is found in its capacity to impact both people and communities positively. It encourages acceptance and forgiveness when one person shows grace to another. This, in turn, may dismantle obstacles and mend hurt, fostering an atmosphere conducive to human development and change.

The foundation of grace is compassion and love without conditions. It enables people to accept the flaws that make us human and move beyond their failures. Grace may be a powerful motivator for individual and societal change in a society where judgment and criticism are commonplace. Furthermore, human relationships are not the only domain in which grace has transformational potential. It may also show itself as self-forgiveness and acceptance. Giving up self-criticism and seeing that oneself and everyone else are worthy of compassion are necessary steps toward accepting grace. A change in viewpoint may result in improved mental and emotional health.


Grace-based communities are often more tenacious and encouraging. Recognizing that everyone deserves compassion promotes a cooperative and empathetic society. Grace therefore takes on a power that surpasses individual deeds and has a beneficial knock-on effect on society at large. Grace can inspire forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion, which is what gives it its transformational power. Grace may be felt in interpersonal interactions as well as in the community. It can create an atmosphere that is conducive to people's development and well-being.


A New Creation in Christ

The apostle Paul declares that anyone in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come. This transformation, brought about by the redemptive work of

Christ is at the core of being called to be different. The believer's identity is rooted in Christ, shaping a life that reflects the character of the One who calls them to be different. When someone accepts Christ as their Saviour, they undergo a significant metamorphosis. It's similar to beginning over with a whole new purpose and identity. This transformation entails a profound interior regeneration in addition to an outward one. In Christianity, a person has a spiritual rebirth upon embracing Jesus as their Saviour.

Giving up old habits and adopting a life governed by Christ's teachings is what it means to be a new creature. It has to do with love, forgiveness, and a will to live by God's precepts. Baptism is a common symbol of this metamorphosis, signifying a commitment to a new life and a symbolic washing away of previous transgressions.

This idea is expressed in the Bible, especially in 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV, which says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" This passage emphasises the concept that people may give up their old identities and embrace a new, meaningful life in Christ. Being a new creature in Christ ultimately comes down to using faith to achieve redemption, hope, and a fresh start. It's a spiritual and personal quest to live a life that embodies Jesus' love and teachings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV.


Challenges and Rewards of Being Different

In the Gospel of Matthew 7: 13 -14 NIV Jesus, speaks about the narrow and wide gates, underscoring the challenges and rewards of the distinctive life. The path of being called to be different may be difficult, but it leads to life. This section explores the various challenges believers may face and the ultimate reward of living in obedience to God's calling.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 NIV.


Revelation: Overcoming and the Crown of Life

In the book of Revelation 2 NIV, the messages to the seven churches in the book of Revelation contain promises to those who overcome the concept of overcoming is intimately tied to being called to be different, as believers are encouraged to persevere in faith despite external pressures. The reward, symbolized by the crown of life, highlights the eternal significance of living a distinctive life.

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary Revelation 2-3 NIV

Conclusion

Being called to be different, as illustrated by biblical teachings, is a transformative journey marked by holiness, faith, love, and the redemptive power of grace. The biblical narrative weaves a tapestry of individuals who, in their distinctiveness, became vessels of God's glory. The call to be different is not a call to isolation but a call to engage with the world, bringing the light of Christ into every realm of life. As believers embrace their identity as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, they fulfil the divine calling to be different for the glory of God and the transformation of the world.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV


Being different as a Christian is not just a suggestion but a commandment from God. As we’ve discussed in this post, the biblical basis for being different is clear, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life that reflects Christ’s teachings. It’s important to remember that this is not something we can do on our own, but we need the help of the Holy Spirit to truly live a different life.


As readers, we are called to act and apply what we’ve learned daily. This means prioritizing prayer and Bible study, cultivating loving relationships, living with integrity, serving others, and standing up for what is right. We can be the light in the world and make a positive difference in our communities by living a different life. In closing, I encourage you to stay focused on God’s will and purpose for your life and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and empower you. Let us all strive to live a different life and bring glory to God through our words and actions.


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