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Too Different From the World?

Too Different From The World?

      As one goes out among the public these days, one cannot but notice the vast difference there is among people. Of course, we are all people.  But we may have different heights, weights, skin color, accents to our voice etc. but that is not what I am observing as I come in contact with humanity.   We are all, in part, a product of our environment in some way.    For instance, if we grew up in the North of France, we will not likely have the same accent as one who was reared in North Carolina.   Nor will we possibly dress the same as our culture has been different during our time on this planet. 

      These types of differences are of no concern as these will not determine the eternal abode of the soul that abides within that body, regardless of the place we grew up or the cultural influences in our lives.   Sure, we are all different, but we share much also.  That which we share is important.   This is what must be taught and “molded” and guided to a point in which we can become different from the world.   The difference that separates one from the world is the status of one’s soul, the internal being of a person. 

      Do we not think the Spirit had good reason to write the instructions in 2Corinthians 6:17 to the people of God in Corinth?   Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  They had previously “come out” of the world, when they were baptized into Christ.   However, all Christians are to be careful to not “be conformed” to the world as the brethren in Rome were instructed in Romans 12:2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   This is what makes the faithful within the church different from the world.    It is what we put into our minds that makes us who we are.   That makes us different!  

       But, does this make us “too different” from the world?   One can most certainly be too much “like the world”.   All we need to do is to look into the history of God’s people of the O.T., Israel to see this to be the case.   When we read 1Samuel 8:4-7 we can see that God was being rejected in favor of the ways of the world.  Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over themCan we afford to be as Israel was?   Do we want to share their fate?    

     Of course, we must always strive to put the right things into our minds so we can remain separate from the world and will live according to the right standard.    In Jeremiah 10:23 the Spirit directed the pen of that prophet as he warned Israel to seek to follow the standard God set.  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his stepsAll mankind, whether those that are Christians, or those of the world, seek a standard to follow.   If we make ourselves the standard, have we not then become “as the world” and not different from the world? 

       From 2Corinthians 10:12we see some N.T. inspired words that caution Christians about aligning themselves with the world or those in the church who do not remain true to God’s Word.  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wiseTo do this is to follow our own standard and not the standard of God.   This is not wise at all.  This is perhaps the same concept as is being taught in the O.T. in Proverbs 23:7aabout one who is focused on the wrong things.  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:   If we are focused on the world, the things of the world and being like the world, will not we be as the world and not at all different from them?  

     Perhaps this is why, from the mount, Jesus preached to HIs people and issued direction to His disciples as He prepared them for the soon to come kingdom.  In Matthew 6:33 we find: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Jesus had just spoken of the things the Gentiles (the world) sought.  He did not want His disciples to be like the world, or to be concerned of the things of the world.    This is much like the teaching found in 1John 2:15-17 that should make us want to be very different from the world.   Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.    Do we want to be like the world and perish?   I’d rather be “too different” than be like the world!             

                                       Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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