When you feel like a misfit

When I was younger I loved the cartoon version of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of the scenes is about The Island of Misfit Toys. It’s for toys that don’t fit in. They sit there dejected, waiting for someone to want them.

That’s a how a lot of Christians feel today.

With each passing year, they feel like they don’t fit in. It’s a strange feeling. For a long time in North America, Christians enjoyed a position of influence (generally speaking), but that is changing rapidly.

Globally, one in seven Christians experiences a “high” level of persecution. That’s 360 million people. Just this past week 14 believers in the eastern Congo died at a church service when some men delivered a package of explosives.

Here in North America, we’re not there yet. But we are in a transitional period which will see apathy turned to increased aggression.

Globally, it’s getting worse—a trend which has accelerated over the past 150 years. Professor and scholar Don Carson describes the situation: “it is not at all impossible, if present trends continue in the West, that opposition here to the gospel will extend beyond family disapproval, trouble at work, condescension from intellectual colleagues, and the like to concrete persecution.”*

This might upset us, but it shouldn’t surprise us.

Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Since a servant is not above his master (verse 20), we shouldn’t expect to escape the mud that was so frequently flung at Jesus.

The very phrase “misfit” assumes you are not fitting in with someone or something you think you should be fitting in with. But what if we were looking at it all wrong? What if we were never supposed to “fit” with the world in the first place?

Our true “fit” is in the embrace of a God who, through Jesus, has already adopted us into his own household and family. (Ephesians 1:5)

The sting of feeling like a misfit is removed when you realize you’re already home, loved, and being used for the glory of God.


–Today’s devotional is based on my latest sermon: “When the world hates you because of your faith.” (January 29, 2023). Click here to watch or listen.

–*D.A. Carson, Basics for Believers: The Core of Christian Faith and Life (BakerBooks: Grand Rapids, 1996), 70.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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