In the 1st century, the apostle Peter wrote a letter to encourage Christians who were feeling shunned and persecuted for their faith.
Since they didn’t buy in to the dominant religions of the day, and would only worship the one true God of the Bible and order their lives according to his teachings, they were often considered radicals, subversives (and outsiders).
So Peter encouraged them to stand firm; to actually expect some suffering and marginalization; and to be prepared to explain their faith when asked.
In the midst of all this he said to “revere Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15).
On the surface, this quite simply means what it says: To revere and honour Jesus as the Lord of their lives. But there’s another implication too:
EXPECT to be different from other people.
Think about it. If Jesus is first in your life, that means you care more about being loyal to him than you do about what others think… and about fitting in… and about measuring up to the standards of popular culture.
The point is this. Don’t be surprised when your faith makes you feel different. Expect it. Anticipate it. Consider it a blessing.
At first, this might make you feel alone. But that’s part of the reason why your devotional life is so important; why worshiping with others Christians is so important; and why gathering and talking with others who share your faith is so important—either in a small group or some other setting.
Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love, writes: “If we are not making decisions in our lives that seem weird or radical to lukewarm people, we probably need to evaluate what’s going on. Believers on a mission are going to look a little crazy to most of the world, just as the training regimen of an Olympic athlete looks a little crazy to us.”
So don’t be surprised when your faith makes you feel different. Expect it. Anticipate it. Consider it a blessing.
And remember this: You are NOT alone. God is with you. And so are your fellow travelers in the footsteps of Jesus.
By Matthew Ruttan
- How to respond more effectively when someone questions your faith. That’s my latest blog (which is based on my Sunday message at Westminster). You can read it here. Enjoy!