Wednesday, May 12, 2010

City On a Hill

Okay, so there's this store at the mall. You all probably know of it, it's called Spencer's. Well, when my friend and I go to the mall, we check out the usual stores first...Hello Cutie, Claires, and Hot Topic. Well, right next door of course is Spencer's. My friend goes in there, and I wait outside in a chair staring into the other stores around. When my friend is finished, she comes out and asks me the usual question:”Chelsea, why won't you go into Spencer's?”

So, I give my reply: “Because I'm trying to be a Christian example, and that's not a store that I can step into and be one.” Then she says: “No one cares if you're in there or not.”

She's right. Nobody will care if they see me in there. They'll walk right on by and not think twice of it because I seem like everyone else, and I'm not supposed to seem like everyone else.

Have you ever noticed that people more often notice the word 'no' than the word 'yes'? When it comes to peer pressure, this is especially true. When you say 'yes' to something whether verbally or non-verbally, no one will think much of it. You become part of the crowd that is condoning whatever it is they're doing. When you say 'no', on the other hand, it seems to have more of an impact because you're rejecting something. Just like me when I say 'no' to stepping foot into Spencer's. People seem to have stronger emotional reactions to 'no' than 'yes'.

If you do something different from the norm, you're bound to stick out. For instance, the average person's hair isn't dyed purple. If you dye it purple, people are bound to notice because you chose to go against the norm. That's how a Christian should be (no, I'm not saying you should dye your hair purple).

Someone who is actively, really trying to live for God is going to be noticed. Christians are not supposed to just “blend in”. We are going against what is usually expected of people. Matthew 5:14 says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Jesus was comparing a true Christian life to a city on a hill. It can't be missed, can it?

People would expect a normal person to go into a store their friend goes into, even if they don't particularly like it; just to be polite. I would do that any time because I love my friend...except when it goes against what God wants me to do. Spencer's, as most of you know, is a gift store. Some of the things in there are innocent such as jewelry and bags; but, it also sells A LOT of things that are very inappropriate, if you get my drift. I can't see Jesus setting foot in there for any reason. If he wouldn't, then I don't see why we should.

God expects us to be different from the world. We should be different in how we dress, where go and what we do for fun, how we talk, what we watch. I know this has been said time and time again, but just because most other people are doing something, doesn't make it right. If a movie comes out and gets rave reviews, and could very well win an Oscar, does that mean we should see it? No. If a new album comes out that a lot of people are buying, should we buy it too? (Philippians 4:8) No. If everyone is saying a certain word or phrase, does that mean we should say it? No.(Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8) If other people are wearing a new style of clothing, does that mean we should wear it too? No. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

Not to say that these things are wrong in and of themselves, but, if there's something about those things that are condemned by God, then we should avoid it like the plague. 1st Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Avoid every appearance of evil.”

Also, being different doesn't mean being in the middle. These people try to keep one foot in the world, and one foot in their Christian life. They rationalize, “Oh I'll just curse a little bit, it's no big deal.” “I'll just watch this trashy movie once.” “Making out with him will be's not like I'm going all the way with him.” Are people really going to see that you're different if this is your take on living a Christian life? No. This is what the bible calls being “lukewarm”. Revelation 3:15-16 says: “I know your works that you are cold, nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Notice the last words in this verse. God is saying since these people are in the middle, neither hot nor cold, he will vomit them out of His mouth. Pretty frightening image, isn't it?

Two main reasons to try to live a Christian example are:

      1. To help convert others to Christ. When you are different, people will notice. This will give you more opportunities to spread the gospel. When you messing with something the bible says is wrong, even just a little bit, the world isn't going to see that you're against it. They're just going to see you condoning something. They're not going to think twice about you. They'll walk on by, and not even think about what you're doing. We're supposed to be living like 'the city on a hill'; the city that can't be missed.

      2. If you're not living a Christian example the way you should, are you truly being what God wants you to be?

When you are a Christian, everything you do should be based on what will bring honor to God. Being a Christian is supposed to take over your entire life; everything you do will be decided by His word. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him.”

Being a Christian means that when you've given your life to God, your choices need to reflect what you've chosen to do. I hope you will think on these things I have said. Even the strongest Christians need to review their lives to see how they could be better.

I hope I have helped any of you in one way or another. More blogs will come later, and I hope your mind will be open to the truth in God's word.