Whether or not we want to admit it, the majority of us spend much of our lives trying to fit in. We dress a certain way because it helps us fit in with our friends. We speak a certain way because it helps us fit in with a certain crowd. Our behavior can also vary greatly. At home we try to maintain the image of the loving husband and father, around our buddy’s we cultivate the image of the manly man, at work we’re the model employee to the boss, and the fun loving guy whose not afraid to make fun of the boss when the boss is not around. Yet, are we really meant to be a people who fit in? Are we called to be chameleons, constantly fitting into wherever situation we’re in? The truth is, God has called us to be DIFFERENT then anyone else. He has formed us, equipped us, and commanded us to be different, standing out in this world rather than fitting into it.
Over the next month we’re going to be looking at the book of 1 Peter. This is a book all about standing out and being different in the world. Peter wrote this letter to churches that were struggling to find their way amidst difficult circumstances. Rome had experienced a great fire that leveled the entire city. The fire had actually been instigated by Emperor Nero, who wanted to rebuild the city in his own image. Needing to blame someone, he decided upon the Christians, who were a new and rapidly growing religious group. He authorized and encouraged an empire wide persecution of Christians. Many Christians were jailed and/or killed, and many churches destroyed. It suddenly became very difficult and dangerous to be a Christian anywhere in the Roman Empire. Many Christians started thinking that perhaps it was just best to temporary fit in with everyone else, and with their lives on the line one could hardly blame them. It was to these persecuted and frightened Christians that Paul was addressing his letter. He says so many amazing things in this letter (which is why I want to look at it over the next month), but I want to leave us with one verse this week.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
We are not created, gifted, saved, and called to be like everyone else. The one who created us, gifted us, saved us, and called us wants us to be different. He wants us to be like Him. He wants us to be like Christ. That’s a big ask, but its an important ask. I pray that we are all willing to step out and trust God to help us explore and live lives that our different.