Different is okay now; but it wasn’t 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 wasn’t. Sometimes I gave in because I didn’t want to be different.
Israel entered a period when they didn’t like different either. Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel…Give 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 didn’t 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 Jesus’ sacrifice, and living as if I’m holy should follow. I can’t shadow the crowd because the crowd might be wrong.
I’ll admit-different isn’t always comfortable. Peer pressure…in 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 I’m distinctive, but God places his soothing salve of comfort on rejection’s 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.
Martin Wiles is a “preacher’s kid,” author, speaker, and freelance writer and editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com), a devotional ministry helping those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon. Or sign up for his daily email devotions by visiting his website.