The dictionary defines different as “distinct, separate, not the same, out of the ordinary, unusual.” Ought not Christians, then, to be different? Ought not we be distinct, separate, not the same, out of the ordinary, unusual? Christ was distinct, separate, out of the ordinary, and he called his followers to be like him.
Here are four ways to be different.
Think differently. To be different begins with the proper preparation of our minds. Behavioral scientists have discovered that human behavior is determined to a great extent by the subconscious mind. To be different begins with our minds. The Proverbs states: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Live differently. A natural outgrowth of our right thinking is right living. When we begin to think differently, we begin to live differently. Any man or woman who accomplishes anything worthwhile must have the courage to live differently because they are marching to the drumbeat of a Different Drummer and they are not afraid to be out of step.
Love differently. Once we begin to think like Christ, we lie like Christ, and then we love like Christ. Love sets us apart. Love is the display of differentness. Love is the litmus test for Christians. It is not just any kind of love. It’s genuine, authentic. Like God’s love for us. It’s intense, fervent. Christian love is not a feeling; it’s a matter of the will. It’s spotless, clean. Men speak romantically about loving from the heart, but God speaks realistically about loving from a pure heart. Love one another—sincerely, deeply, and purely—and people will know that you are different. They will know that you are followers of Christ.
Talk differently. When we start thinking differently, which leads to living differently, which leads to loving differently, this leads to talking differently. The words we use reveal most obviously if we are different or not. We live in a world that uses words to put people down and tear people up. Those people who are different use their words to build people up.
Today the world has a desperate need for people who are different.
In Bernard Shaw’s play St. Joan, some soldiers are talking about the “Maid of Orleans.” One of them says, “There is something about—the girl . . . . Her words and her ardent faith in God have put fire into me.” His captain replies, “Why, you are almost as mad as she is.” And the soldier stubbornly goes on, “Maybe that’s what we need nowadays—mad people. See where the sane ones have landed us.”
We need people who will be different even if it will cost them their social popularity, their economic fortunes, or their very lives.
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