A Call to Be Different
How are Jesus’ followers supposed to act? It’s a vital question. The answer is both simple and challenging: we are called to be different—different from those who don’t follow Jesus.
Throughout all of eternity, God has purposed to have a people of His own. God’s people are called to be a holy people, set apart both from sin and to God, who is in Himself “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). We find this principle of a people set apart recorded for us throughout Scripture. In Leviticus, for example, the Lord commands His people, the Israelites, not to imitate the Egyptians and the Canaanites in their pagan practices. Rather, they are called to obey God’s laws and decrees (Leviticus 18:1-5).
But God’s laws were not introduced so that His people could simply give the appearance of obedience. No, true obedience to God’s decrees is an expression of a transformed heart—a heart that rejoices at holiness. In other words, God says, You’re My people. You belong to Me. Therefore, I want you to delight in being set apart. Our external actions will only endure and will only please God when an internal change has already taken place.
So it is that in the New Testament we find Peter exhorting believers to remember that they are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). As God’s people today, we are still called to live differently: to keep our conduct honorable, and to make choices about our entertainment, finances, relationships—indeed, every facet of our lives—that are in step with God’s exhortation to be holy as He is holy (1:16).
The great challenge for us as believers is to identify with the world in its need but not in its sin. The people of our world do not need us to make them feel comfortable about their immoral behavior and rejection of their Creator. Instead, as Peter explains, we are to live in such a way that we will “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” so that others might see our good deeds and give God all the glory (1 Peter 2:9). So Peter’s words should provoke us each to ask: Do I expect to be different? Am I willing to be different, even if it leads to others speaking against me? Will I love this world enough to be quite unlike this world, that I might point the people of this world towards a better one?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Moses Commands Obedience
1“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules1 that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. 3Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today. 5See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
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