"Most of us would rather fit in, than stand out. Christ is expecting us to stand out so that people can see the difference." ~ Dave Stone, I'd Rather See A Sermon
One of the difficult responsibilities that we face as Christians is living in the world without being part of the world. This culture of peer pressure isn't just reserved for teenagers, even as adults we experience it.
I feel it everytime I walk into the Apple store or a sporting goods store. There are so many different items that I want, not only for their intended function, but to make me a little more cool. Let's face it, We don't want to be different. We want to be the same as everyone else. The only difference is that we want to do it with God's blessing.
Part of the reason we have this struggle is because this world is what we know. It is real to us. We can experience it right now. This is what appeals to our flesh and causes us to desire these things that will all too soon fade away.
The same cannot be said about God's blessings. Though they are abundant and constant, so often they seem to be off in the distant future in a different place. It is hard to follow the wisdom of God when it seems to go against the wisdom of this world. Too often the wisdom we get from God seems to be out of touch with where we are at the moment.
Part of living a life of faith is trusting God even whe it seems to make no sense to us. We may not see the compromise in watching certain movies, telling certain jokes, wearing certain clothes, or even taking certain shortcuts to get ahead at work, but God does. This is what God thinks when we try to live like the world:
You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,
"God opposes the proud
but favors the humble" (James 4: 4-6; NLT).
We cannot desire the things of this world and the things of God at the same time. God is very exclusive when it comes to our relationship with Him. God wants us 24/7/365. God is satisfied with a portion of our lives, He wants it all. He will not tolerate us giving Him only an hour on Sunday mornings and being part of a small group during the week. God wants it all, and more than that God deserves it all.
Take a look at the words the James used when he talked about people who wanted both God and the world. James calls such people adulterers and enemies of God. Those are not good things to be, but that is what we allow ourselves to become when we desire to be like this world in our speech, actions, dreams, appearance, and purpose.
God wants us to be different. He wants us to stand out and become who He created us to be, rather than a carbon copy of the people in the world. It is by living a life of faith that we are able to live differently from the world. It is through faith that we develop into the person God created us to be.