(1 Peter 2:9) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
I have heard people quote the aforementioned verse, only to end it by saying “Christians are to be different.” While that statement is true, we need to understand why we are to be different, and in which ways we are to be different. Simply saying “we are to be peculiar” doesn’t cut it.
The book of 1 Timothy very clearly gives us an outline of how we are to be different. (1 Timothy 4:12) “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Let’s examine these in more detail:
In Word: While words may seem insignificant, they are very important because they show our heart. Christ said in (Matthew 15:18) “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
A Christian’s speech should reflect the fact that he belongs to Christ. If we do not filter the things we say we bring shame to Christ. Therefore, as Christians we are to be different in how we talk.
In Conversation: The word here, often translated “conversation”, is better translated “conduct” which means behavior. Not only should our words show people that we are Christians but our actions should as well. We have all heard the term “Actions speak louder than words” which is true, consider (Hebrews 11:4) “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Even though Abel is dead we still learn from his Godly example, and in that respect actions do speak louder than words. Along with “talking the talk” we must “walk the walk.”
In Charity: Some nonbelievers try to portray Christians as rude, hateful and even violent (usually bringing up the crusades). When we look at the teachings of Christ we see the exact opposite! Christians are to be different from the world in how we treat one another with love. Christ said in (John 13:34-35) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (Vs.35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Does that sound hateful? No!
Also consider (Matthew 5:44) “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Just like Christ exemplified love on the cross towards people who hated him, Christians are to do the same.
In Spirit: The term “In Spirit” refers to the attitude or disposition of our heart. While people can certainly do things wrong with good intentions, a Christian should always have honesty and sincerity behind his or her actions. These actions include our worship to God (John 4:24) as well as our dealings with people. Keep in mind (Philippians 2:5) “Let this mind (Attitude) be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
In Faith: Faith denotes belief and trust. As Christians, our faith certainly looks different from those in the world. While the world trusts in human intellect and money, Christians are to put their trust in the Almighty God. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Vs.6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” When the world around us is in a panic over material things a Christian can still wear a smile if their faith is in God.
In Purity: Finally, Christians are to be different from the world because they are to be pure. Christ said in (Matthew 5:8) “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” In today’s society, purity seems to be lost. However, by monitoring what we take in, what we dwell on, and who we associate with, purity can be achieved. (Philippians 4:8) “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Never forget that we have been called out of the world and are to be different from the world…