Be Bold, Be Different

Published 4:57 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

As I was picking okra the other day I was reminded of how well the pods of okra blend in with the surrounding foliage.  Because I know how well camouflaged the pods are, I always go back and take a careful look after I have gone over the stalks once, and without fail, I always find a few more pods that I missed the first time.  From that I was made to wonder about our lives as those who claim to be living for God.  Do the lifestyles of those within the church blend in so well with those who express no devotion to God that no one can tell any difference?  As we contemplate that question, we would do well to consider the words of 2 Corinthians 6:16:  ‘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’” (New International Version).  He expects us to be different if we are genuinely committed to Him; not just on the surface, but to have different values, goals, and desires from the rest of the world.

After my wife and I paid for the items that we purchased in a local store a few days ago, the very nice cashier said something to me that I was not expecting:  “Sir, you’re looking smooth today.  What’s the special occasion?”  I never remember being told that before, and I very much appreciated her kindness and sincerity. Even though people sometimes take notice of our attire, our highest goal should be to display such a Christ-like lifestyle that it is immediately noticed so that honor is brought to our Lord.

I made some choices that day before I was told that I looked “smooth”—I chose to wear a white shirt and a tan hat.  It was simple and basic; not fancy but appropriate.  We also make choices everyday about how we conduct ourselves, what is of most value to us, and what we hope to achieve.  The world system is focused on material gain and selfish accomplishments, but God has a higher purpose for His people.  He wants us to follow Godly wisdom and seek after what pleases Him.  While choosing to live according to God’s plan seems to be becoming less popular in our day, it is still right and pleasing to Him, and beneficial to us as His people.

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Concerning the pursuit of Godly wisdom, Proverbs 8:10-11 directs us to “Choose my instruction instead of sliver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”  Living by Godly wisdom allows us to stand out, to be different, and to be identified as one with eternal values.  Such character challenges the thinking and values of the world that we live in, which means that it might not always be appreciated or respected, but the approval of God is of far greater value than the approval of man.

It takes boldness to choose to be different by standing out and standing up for God.  In the New Testament during the early days of the Church it took a great deal of boldness for the followers of Christ to choose to be different by following His teaching.  Two essential keys to their boldness are found in Acts 4:31:  “They prayed” and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”  If we expect to stand out and be different so that others will see that we belong to Christ, those same two things are essential to us today.  Choose to be a person of prayer and allow Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can be bold and be different.