We had the wonderful privilege of watching our oldest daughter graduate from college this past Saturday. We were able to sit right along the aisle where the graduates walked in and were able to get some great pictures.
However, when your last name begins with an “A” and the line is organized alphabetically, you end up at the very beginning. For this particular line, it meant our daughter was number 8 out of somewhere around 1100 graduates. So, after we had smiled, waved, and taken our fill of pictures of her, we had a lot of graduates to watch walk in. At first, I watched their faces, most with bright eyes and proud smiles. I did see one guy with head phones in – which is worthy of a blog post all on its own (really? on your graduation day?!)
Eventually, my eyes wandered down to the feet walking by me. Hundreds and hundreds of feet covered in almost just as many different styles of shoes. I saw sneakers and sandals and flip flops. I saw a pair of work boots and a pair of brightly colored, flower-printed high, high heels. But the one thing I realized as I watched all of those feet pass by me was that some of the shoes stood out and others just blended in with the rest around them.
As the minutes wore on, I thought about the credit and applause that is often given to people who are independent and willing to be different when it comes to shoes and clothing and lifestyle. “You do whatever you want to do!” we hear. People are told to follow their hearts and live their dreams, no matter what other people think.
But, yet, if we stand out because we aren’t willing to go to a certain movie or wear a bikini or listen to a certain music group – well, suddenly, we aren’t so applauded, are we? Instead we are labeled things like prudish, goody two-shoes, and narrow-minded. In the world we live in, it is a wonderful thing to be different – as long as you are picking the right thing in which to be different.
But I ask you – if we Christians aren’t dramatically different than the world, how will the world know that we have something they may want? What exactly does the Bible mean when it tells us not to love the world? Verses giving this message abound (in John 15:18-19, James 1:27, and I John 2:15-16 just to name a few). It would seem to me that modern day Christianity is telling us the opposite of these verses. Why exactly are we being told that we need to be like the world instead of the scriptural teaching that we shouldn’t be like the world?
I think that is a question that has a multitude of answers and some of them may even make some sense to our finite, human minds. But, as always, we can’t argue with scripture. God tells us to stay unspotted from the world. Our witness for Jesus Christ is at stake here. God calls us out of the world to be light and salt for Him. By being pure and holy in a culture that is drowning in darkness and wickedness we become a beacon in the night to those who are searching for answers.
I know this is so very unpopular, but let’s stand out like a brightly colored pair of shoes in a line of non-descript loafers for following our Savior whole-heartedly. May it not matter what worldly pleasures we have to deny, what cost it be to our personal reputation, or what friendships are affected by it. Let’s be a different brand of Christian and stand up for Jesus!
Stand up, stand up for Jesus
As soldiers of the cross.
Lift high his royal banner;
It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
His army he shall lead
Till every foe is vanquished
And Christ is Lord indeed.