I don’t know about you but I like to fit in and I don’t like being a misfit. I never wanted to be the last choice in a pickup football game and at times I’d laugh at jokes even if I didn’t think it was funny, just to “fit in”.
We all belong to groups, even beyond grade school. We are in groups for work, hobbies, Bible studies, church, school, networking and the list goes on. As our relationship with God grows, things start to change. The more we recognize our Lord’s voice the more we desire to change:
John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Deuteronomy 30:6 “The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!
So the more we love God, the less we love the world.
1 John 2: 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
As we continue to remain in Him, transformation happens
Our values change, habits change, friendships change, thoughts change, and desires change. If they’re not changing, then there’s no growth. Habits and long-time desires, of course, do not change overnight, so this is not necessarily evident in some areas but other areas should show it.
For me, I may pray for change in a specific area of my life that never seems to change, but I can see changes in other areas that I hadn’t realized needed changing. What this shows me is that God will change me on His terms, the way He prefers, not mine.
Jeremiah 18:6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.
So what impact does this have on the relationships in our groups? We become a misfit. Simply meaning that we no longer “fit in”. The desire to talk about real estate, work, baseball, TV all the time will change. The desire to hang out with the guys that disparage their wives will disappear. Instead of agreeing with people and sharing in their despair over the poor economy, you’ll want to share the hope we have in God and not participate in the meaningless, unconstructive conversation.
You may see this in your church as well. I remember as a young man there were the “good” kids and the “bad” kids. The bad kids did not take Sunday School seriously, and the good kids enjoyed church and had respect for instruction. So when I’d repent during a revival meeting (remember those?), the next week I’d be hanging around the good kids. I know there are adult versions of these groups as well.
It’s OK to be disliked.
As we change, some people in those groups may start disliking you. Some may keep their distance simply because “you’re not the same anymore” and they’re right. A few may be attracted to the change and may inquire about it.
These are good signs. For me, I remember feeling like going through a second adolescence. I felt weird, uncomfortable and not really sure of myself. Instead of being influenced, we are becoming the influencers:
19 This is how the Lord responds:
“If you return to me, I will restore you
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!
This is awesome. Isn’t it great that we can use this ancient passage that was meant originally for Jeremiah and use it for ourselves?
Misfits in the world, at home with God
I discovered that this is all a part of the process of being set apart.
Leviticus 20:26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.
I don’t know about you, but I can not relate to being holy, at least I don’t feel holy anyway, but I know that only through the blood of Jesus we are made holy, and that is a wonderful thing to remember. And I most certainly desire to be holy, at least on most days. 🙂
1 Corinthians 1:2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
I love to see New Testament verses that seem to directly relate to Old Testament verses.
And now for one of my favorite verses
Romans 12: 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
How will this transformation happen? Only through “reprogramming” our minds. Replace novels and/or TV with Bible reading, exchange gossip with going out with godly friends, and pleading to God to change your heart on a daily basis. If you truly want to change, seek the Lord with all your heart.
John 6: 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
Will you seek change?
“Dear Lord, I can begin to see the changes in my life and I thank you for putting me on this path. Please keep me from falling away and help me to understand what being set apart really means for me. I praise your name. In Jesus’ name, amen.”