Tucked away in the drawer of my nightstand is a handmade shirt I wore as a little kid. It’s special to me for two reasons. One, because my mom made it for me, and two, it’s camouflage.
I have loved camouflage my entire life. As a little boy, the whole idea of pretending to be an army guy, blending into the background, and being unseen was always exciting.
And let’s be honest, I still think it’s cool, and I still wear camo. But as fun as it is, God never intended for our lives to blend into the background. Instead, he intended for us to stand out.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of blending into the culture around you instead of standing out. Unfortunately, as a pastor, it’s often hard to distinguish between people who call themselves Christians and people who don’t. It’s very sad.
I want to challenge you for a moment to look at your life and see if you stand out or blend in?
Here are three ways to stand out instead of blending in.
Never be ashamed of the Good News of Jesus.
Jesus gave us some strong words to consider when he said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”(Mark 8:38)
I can think of nothing worse than Jesus, the one who bore my shame, being ashamed of me.
That’s why you and I should “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Never conform to sin, be a living sacrifice.
Blending into a sinful society is easy. All you have to do is like what it likes and do what they do. But conforming to the world is not God’s will for you. He has better plans for you.
That’s why I and the Apostle Paul “urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
True rebellion is living for God, not for yourself.
Never hate your enemy; love them.
Of all the things that set a Christian apart, this is at the top of the list. It’s completely counter-cultural, and it’s only possible through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told us to stand out in this way when he said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
If you want to be known as God’s child, you must love people, even your enemy.
The Apostle Peter drove this nail home when he said, “All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Jesus said that “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13)
But not with the godly. Their love never grows cold. It gets stronger.
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