My son Jonah likes to play a little game with us sometimes that he calls “what’s different about me?” He leaves the room and comes back “different” and then asks us to guess what that difference is. For example, he may be wearing some different clothes… or he may have a sticker on him he didn’t used to have… or he may be making a silly face. Then he asks us, “What’s different about me,” and we have to guess. The other day, the three of us were lying in my bed (as we often do on Saturday mornings) just enjoying being lazy, when Jonah jumped up and said, “Let’s play what’s different about me!” Before we could even answer, he was running out of the room to become “different”. He came back a few minutes later wearing his Daddy’s shoes. He could barely contain his giggles as we “guessed” what was different about him. He ran out again and came back with a napkin on his head. When we finally guessed that one, he ran out again and came back a little less obvious. We couldn’t tell right away what was different, but we studied him a while and figured out that he was holding his hands in fists. “Your hands are different,” I exclaimed as he laughed at how hard it was for us to figure out. That game can go on and on for hours if we let it. He just loves to try and fool us.
Jonah likes to play that game often, and even though it can get a little tiresome for the rest of us, he’s got the right idea. What do I mean? Well, I’ve realized that as Christians, we really should all be playing that game all the time – without necessarily knowing it. When we give our lives to Christ and accept Him into our lives to be our Lord and Savior, we experience some changes in our lives. When the spirit of God comes to take up residency in us, He immediately starts a transformation process that doesn’t end until we’re taken home to heaven. Some changes are instant, and some are a longer process. Some are drastic, and some are barely noticeable. But either way we are being changed. As soon as we give up our own rights to our lives and give complete authority and control to God, He begins the process of molding and shaping us into the image of His son Jesus. His goal in everything we go through in life is to make us more and more like Jesus, who was the perfect representation of Him. The longer we engage in our relationship with Christ, the more changes we undergo. The more we come to know God, the more like Him (and less like the rest of the world) we become. So those of us who have walked with the Lord for any length of time should be used to constant changing, and we should be very different than the “world”.
The world is just a term used to describe a society of those who don’t have Christ – those who are living for this world rather than eternity. It’s those who still hold onto authority over their own lives and live according to humanistic standards rather than yielded to God’s spiritual authority… unbelievers… people who are governed by society and human values rather than governed by God. The Bible refers to the world often and distinguishes it as those who are not walking under God’s authority. You know them well.
The Bible tells us that although we are in the world, we are not supposed to be of the world (2Corinthians 10:2-4). That basically means that although we live here among the worldly and godless, we are foreigners in this society and should be noticeably different from the others. We are not to conform to the world’s standards. We are not to behave or even think like they do. Our minds and spirits have been transformed away from their faithless ways, and we should reflect God more than we reflect this world. We should feel like foreigners here, and I don’t know about you, but I feel extremely out of place sometimes! We are different. And we should act different. We should essentially be behaving as God’s children and Christ’s followers and unconsciously asking the world every day “what’s different about me”. And you may not think it, but the world does notice our differences. We behave in ways that leave them wondering what we have that they don’t. Our ways should make them hungry for the God we serve. They should be able to look on at how we conduct our lives or how we handle a situation and say “how do they do that”. That’s how we testify to the amazing grace and power of our God. Our transformed lives are the world’s evidence that God exists and actively works in our personal lives.
When the world holds grudges, we forgive. When the world complains, we are content. When the world cheats and lies to get ahead, we are honest and wait on God’s promotions. When the world looks right past the poor, helpless, outcasted and needy people, we reach out to help. When the world uses profane words and blasphemes the name of God, we praise Him with our lips and edify with our words. When the world aborts babies in the name of convenience, we embrace and nurture our children with love. When the world uses drugs and substances to escape the reality of life, we remain sober and completely satisfied as we get “high” on the fact that we’re heaven-bound. When the world engages in pornography and casual sex and treats people as objects, we cultivate deep loving relationships with a spouse we love unconditionally, faithfully and sacrificially. When the world gives up on marriage and allows divorce to break apart families, we continue to selflessly love and rely on God for healing and help. While the world sits back and demands others to serve them, we are busy serving and giving. While the world cares about status and position, we are happy to be humble servants of a living God. While the world worships superficial things like entertainment, money, and
You see, we are (and should be) very different from the rest of the world and our differences should be getting more and more evident every day. If we’re not, then we’re not yielded enough to the Spirit of God, and we’re not turning away from our sin regularly and asking Him to change us. Because if we do that, the Bible promises that we will see results. I once heard a pastor ask this compelling question during a sermon. “If you were accused at your workplace of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Think about that. If someone – anyone – in any situation (your workplace, your neighborhood, your social circle) accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough hard evidence to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt, or would it simply be circumstantial? Are you different enough that people can figure it out? When the world looks at you, do they see behavior that is remarkably unlike theirs, leaving them with the notion that your God really does change people? We need to be playing the game with them. We need to be asking, “what’s different about me,” and give them the answer that the difference in you is Jesus.