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  • Writer's pictureH.W. Lancaster

Standing Apart from the World

In today’s “me” culture where self-indulgence is considered normal, as followers of Jesus, we need to be reminded that we are different from the world. That means we should strive to be more like Jesus in each and every way. One of those areas is holiness.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 - For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

This doesn’t happen automatically, it’s a process. Each day, we’re bombarded with information that tells us it’s okay to put ourselves first. However, Jesus gave us the main directives we should focus on in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 22:37-39 - Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

When we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, we don’t want to put ourselves first. This means we need to constantly be filling our hearts and minds with His Word and His promises. It doesn’t stop things that go against God from popping into our minds, but that’s where Paul directs us to take each thought captive.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Take each thought at a time, each day at a time. That process renews our minds and draws us closer to Jesus. How do we do that? Stay in the Word, be careful what information you let dwell in your spirit. Here’s a gut check - how much time do you spend watching the news or the latest shows on TV versus the time you spend with the Lord?

Romans 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

A quick glance at the news or a scroll through social media and we’re bombarded with content that goes against God and His Word. According to them, hate is the new normal, and fear is their gospel. Are you dwelling on the damage that was done, the evil in men’s hearts, or the latest COVID numbers? Or are you praying for peace, for healing, and for those impacted? Not just the victims, but everyone involved that needs Jesus? This is an area where God is still working on me! It would be easy to react in the natural, but we’re called to overcome that with good.

Romans 12:21 - Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are called to be set apart, different from the world around us. Our love and holiness are what sets us apart. When we are truly changed by Him, we radiate that love and compassion to others.

1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Will we ever be perfect? No, only God is perfect. However, if we allow Him to work in us, we will become more like Him each and every day.

Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Until that day, my friends!

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