“Look at this pretty dress,” my Mom said, “this silhouette would look so nice on you.”
“It’s okay, but it’s not exactly the style today, nobody’s wearing stuff like that now.”
My mom was a master seamstress and made a lot of my clothes; we were in the fabric department, looking at patterns. Or she was. I was impatiently trying to drag her to the young women’s section to buy the things my peers were wearing. My mom wanted me to be different – or as she said, “to be yourself.” I didn’t want to be myself – I wanted to be like everyone else. The thing is, on those rare days when I did wear something my mom wanted me to wear, I got the most compliments. Most days, I was just one more face in a look-alike crowd.
When God called the nation of Israel to be His people he said He had “set you apart from the nations, to be My own” (Leviticus 20:26). He wanted them to be distinct – holy – like Him. His people were meant to reflect Him to the nations. They resisted this throughout their history, and when they had settled in the Promised Land, they demanded a king “then we will be like all the other nations” (1 Samuel 8:19). They did not want to be like God, they wanted to be like everyone around them.
Not much has changed. God’s people, now under Jesus’ sacrifice, are called to be different, to be like Christ – distinct, set apart – holy. But we try our best to fit in – to be like everyone around us. We don’t want to “stand out from the crowd.” But the crowd needs to see you and me looking like Jesus, talking like Jesus, loving like Jesus – not a mirror image of themselves. You may not get compliments, but you will be noticed, and that allows you to “give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
Do you blend in with the world, or do you stand out from the crowd? Do people see their own weary reflection when they look at you – or do they see the hope of Christ? The truth is, you cannot be a follower of Christ and look like the world. You are either one or the other. Which will it be Beloved?