I had the privilege of speaking with the middle school students at my church (Community Church of Greenwood) this past Sunday. Yes, it was partly about my last blog post like I mentioned on Facebook, but the overarching theme was that, as Christians, we are supposed to stand out and not conform to this world--what we do may look completely insane to those on the outside.
I started my talk off by showing the I Am Second video of Moriah Peters. In it, she talks about how God opened a bunch of doors and she made it all the way to the celebrity judges round of American Idol. Once she got in front of them, the judges loved her voice, but they hated how naive she was in life. Moriah had never kissed a boy at the young age of 19 and she didn't want to have her first kiss until her wedding day. The judges found that unattractive. They told Moriah to go kiss somebody and then come back. She stood up for herself and walked away, no golden ticket to Hollywood. On the way out of the building, that same day, not even an hour later, a guy came running after her and asked her if she would be willing to talk to him about being signed with a Christian record deal and manager. Moriah's ways made no sense to those judges, but God had another plan for Moriah, American Idol was just an avenue to get there. God blessed her for standing up for her faith and standing out among the crowd.
So how can we stand out other than by saving ourselves for marriage like I talked about in the last blog or by changing when we have our first kiss? (I really don't mean that everyone needs to save their first kiss for their husband--you do what you want. I'm basically talking about just being wise about the physical in relationships.) I think how we stand out is different for everyone. For a teenager, it may be not drinking before the age of 21 because it's the law. For a parent, it may be how you raise your children. For a college student, it may be introducing yourself as a Christian when EVERY college professor has you introduce yourself the first day of class. For a husband, it may be the way you treat your wife and how much you love her.
For me, I stood out when I was a teenager in a lot of ways. One was when I was leaving for Haiti. I had people in my life that couldn't understand why I would go there for a whole summer. It's not safe. It's hot. I'm going to miss out on all the fun things that were happening at home. And so on. And all of that was true, but I felt called to Haiti. This set me apart from a lot of people my age. Most college freshmen were spending their summers partying, boating, and going to concerts. I spent mine in Haiti.
Here's the thing though, you don't need to go to another country or proclaim your abstinence from a rooftop to stand out. Those are kind of intense. But, day to day, you can stand out as a Christian. There are so many ways: how you treat your spouse, how you react to stress, how you discipline your kids, how you interact in your workplace, how you conduct yourself on a regular basis, and so on. Whether you're a student, a stay at home mom, or a working adult, there's something you can do right now that will help you stand out, something you do that shows you're a Christ follower. What that is is between you and God, but it's worth finding out. Isn't that why you're here? If you're truly a Christ follower, your point here is to show Christ to those around you. You can do that by standing out. So, let's stand out, shall we? Let's make a commitment to live our lives in such a way that people wonder why we're different and why we choose to live the way we do.