Dare to be Different…

You have no business blending in!

This is what the word of God says about you;

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” 
[Matthew 5:14].

If the bible tells you that you cannot be hidden, then please tell me why you spend so much time ‘fitting in’?

Some of us have come to believe that the best way to get through life is to follow the norms and just do what everyone else is doing.
So even though our light is there, we ourselves have covered it up by failing to embrace the differences in us that we actually ought to use to proclaim Christ and make Him known to others.

What I’m getting at, is the fact that as children of the Most High, we haven’t been called to look and live like everyone else;

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
[1 Peter 2:9]

Therefore, we need to start getting comfortable with standing out, standing proud, and in some cases, standing alone

I get it, it’s good and fun and nicer to have company as we work our way through this journey of life, but let’s be reminded that pleasing God is much more important. And in fact, when we wholeheartedly live to honour and stand for Him, He provides us with peace and boldness to do so!

Now let’s make sense of the title of this post…

Daring to be Different isn’t about making a scene.

It isn’t about seeking attention or seeking to be noticed and praised by others, but rather it’s about plucking up that courage to step away from the things that displease God, even if it’s the most popular trend, or the ‘in thing’ according to the rest of the world.
It’s about loving God enough to let go of our fleshly desires and the worldly pleasures that we’ve become used to, and focus our hearts on the things above.

“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
[Romans 12:2]

This verse is one that is popularly quoted amongst believers and I want us to pay attention to the faithfulness of God in this verse…

It tells us that God does the transforming. And I believe we ought to find comfort in the fact that this means that He doesn’t leave us to figure it out on our own, or struggle with the temptation that comes with trying to get rid of our old ways.
This verse tells us that if we can shift our focus away from the world and sin, and unto God, then He will work in us and renew our minds.
He Himself will teach our hearts what His ways are; enabling us to develop a better understanding of how to live for Him.

Now we’ve spoken before about standing out and standing for God, when we looked at the story of Daniel, in the post titled ‘Can they See you?’

Daniel stood out in quite a bold and outward way, and in some cases, we will need to do this in order for us to show others who our God is.
But whilst looking at this topic further, what God showed me is that sometimes our ‘standing out’ needs to be in terms of the smaller things, the inside things, and the intimate things…

Daring to be Different transcends all the way into our private lives and the things we do in secret that no one else (but God) sees…

Maybe we skip paying our train fare.
Maybe we’re engaging in fraudulent activities.
Maybe we stream music and movies illegally online.
Maybe we’re engaging in sexual intimacy in our pre-marital relationships.

The things that we could never tell anyone openly, but we know each time we do it, we get an itch about it being wrong.
Yes friend, God is asking us to take the right Stand for these things too, even if it means standing alone.
In fact, it’s with some of these smaller and more intimate things that we may feel like we’re losing out or missing out more, initially.
These ‘behind closed doors’ things that have become so deeply embedded into our lives may actually be the ones that hurt to give up most.
But over time we’ll see that the more God transforms our minds and our beliefs, the more we’ll understand and embrace the beauty of doing what is right and pleasing in His sight.
The more we’ll appreciate the pain it took to stop these things and Stand for God in the first place.

Please understand that I’m not calling you out, but I want us to be convicted today by the Holy Spirit and the word of God;

“My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;”
[Proverbs 1:15]

“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners takes 
or sit in the company of mockers,” 
[Psalm 1:1

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
    turn from it and go on your way.
[Proverbs 4:14-15]

Some of us have been hearing that ‘Stop it’, for so long, but have allowed ourselves to become okay with ignoring God’s voice.
Let today be the day that you take the BOLD step to make the change.

I want us to chase God and chase His ways.
Crave God and crave His ways.
See sin, despise sin, and choose to Stand for a True and Living Christ.

Understand this, we aren’t doing it to prove that we’re better than anyone else, but it’s simply to show Jesus that He means everything to us and that we are preparing our hearts and our lives for His second coming.

You will see, that your Stand will inspire, encourage and push others to draw nearer to God, and even cause unbelievers to want to know Him.
When people see a Difference in our attitudes towards life, our reactions and our mannerisms, one day they’ll be forced to enquire about this Jesus that we choose to honour.

I’ll end by telling us this –

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
[Matthew 5:13]

We have a responsibility to season this world with Christ – let us Dare to be Different, Confident and Firm in the things of Christ, and trust that the world will follow us and move towards the things of God too!

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

#DareToBeDifferent
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying

Can They See You?

What’s different about you? 

When you go for a job interview, the employers are looking for something in you that makes you stand out in comparison to others.
They’re looking for that ‘thing’ that suggests to them that you’d be better than everyone else, for that role.

As we all know this, we go to interviews with our best. We make sure that our CVs/Resumes are in tip-top shape, and we make sure that every unique thing about us is right in front for them to pick up on as soon as they see us…

Here’s my question for today:

When you walk into a room, can people see you?

No, I’m not talking about the outfit, the shoes, the hair, the watch – but I’m asking, when you walk into someone’s life, do they see something in you that is ‘just different’?

Initially, that’s exactly how they may describe it because they can’t quite put their finger on what it is, but they know that there is something different about that guy/lady.

As time goes on and they get to know you more, or just somehow find out about you more, they’ll begin to specify the attributes that contribute to this difference – ‘That lady is always positive’, ‘That guy always brings good vibes’, ‘That woman is generous’, That man is always encouraging people’….

How do people describe you when you’re not in their presence?
I’ll give you a moment to think about it.

Alright, so let’s hit the scriptures;

I’ve linked the whole of Daniel 4 here for you to read in your own time.
For this post, we’ll jump and skip between verses, so it isn’t too many words on a page, but let’s start here – the king of Babylon has a dream, and he seeks someone who can correctly interpret the dream for him;

“But one night I had a dream that frightened me;
I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.

So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon,
so they could tell me what my dream meant.

[Daniel 4:5-6]

But despite calling for all magicians and sorcerers etc, he still has no one who can tell him what the dream really means;

“When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in,
I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant.”
[Daniel 4:7]

But then one man came in, and he was different;

“At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream.
(He was named Belteshazzar after my 
god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
“I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve.
Now tell me what my dream means.”

[Daniel 4:8-9]

Let’s pause here for a bit…

As the king reports this story, he begins verse 8 with ‘At last’.
Indicating that he had anticipated this man who was set apart from others.

Friend, does the world, and do the people around you, ANTICIPATE you?
When there is turmoil or disarray, do they wait in hope for You, knowing that your presence will bring something different?

You see, prior to this chapter 4, Daniel had shown himself to be different.
He had made bold decisions (Daniel 1:8), and in all he did to honour God, he had the Lord’s backing (Daniel 1:17).
He spent time with God, was endowed with wisdom, and so showed forth his gift in a way that caused people around him to want to worship his God! (Daniel 2:46-47)

Friend, do you show forth your gifts from God?
If you do, is it in a way that glory returns to God, and not yourself?
Do you stand strong in your beliefs despite what everyone else is doing, and like Daniel did, allow your True God to come through for you because you choose NOT to disregard Him, and NOT to defile yourself?
Ponder on these questions for a moment, and when you’re ready, keep reading…

So what we’ve seen is that prior to this chapter, Daniel had shown the king his ability before (in chapter 2) – hence the ‘at last’, and hence the anticipation.
Meaning the king had formed an opinion of who Daniel was – mystery solver, wise man, a man in whom the Spirit of the Real God lives in….

I ask, what do people acknowledge about you?
Does your daily life represent God enough, for them to desire you and associate your name with positive things?
Just as the king saw greatness in Daniel, do people around you see greatness in you?
Do they see a problem-solver, a peace-bringer, a logical-thinker?
Do they see generosity, selflessness, self-control, discipline, a joyful heart, good vibes?

What I found amazing about this story, is that the king is so sure of his opinion of Daniel!
After describing his dream in verses 10-17, the king says;

““‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had.
Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so.
But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’”

[Daniel 4:18]

He reiterates once again, the fact that the Spirit of God lives in this Daniel guy.

So I ask, how firmly do people stand by their perception of who you are?
Yes, I know you don’t live to please others, but this question pertains to your consistency.
We all know that we should live in a way that is Christ-like, and God-fearing, but some of us seem to have a rota for when we put the armour of God on and off.

Are you someone who is hot and cold?
Are you consistent enough with what you portray, how you live, how you behave – that people see the same you at all times?

Skipping to the end of Daniel 4, a lot has happened in between; Daniel interprets the dream, the dream is fulfilled, and the king then says this;

““Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven.
All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.””

[Daniel 4:37]

He is moved by the excellence and truth of Daniel’s spirit, that after the dream is fulfilled, the king himself worships God! The True God of Heaven and Earth.

I want to close and bring it all together by asking you this;

How much do you blend in?

Some of us are indistinguishable from unbelievers.
Some of us have days on and days off – we have a certain crowd we play Christ-like with, and another set of people we dabble in sin and pleasure with.
Some of us have that tendency of a great spirit, but every now and then you want to hide it.
Some of us have an excellent spirit – we are bold and unafraid of living for God – no we aren’t perfect, but we’re striving to be the Daniel of our environment.

Let me tell you this, as a follower of Christ, you have no business looking the same as everyone else.

When you walk into a room you ought to bring Light and Life to it.

When people see you, even if they can’t initially identify exactly what it is, they must still know that there is something Positively  D I F F E R E N T  about you!

So I ask you again – How much do you blend in? – With the crowd, with the world, with those who don’t know God…

I hope your answer to this question (if it’s anything other than ‘Not at all’) makes you so uncomfortable, that you begin working on your change from today onwards.
I pray now and forevermore, that the Light of Christ in you will shine brightly for all to see, and be transformed by!

Let us pray:

Father,
Just as Daniel didn’t compromise You, give me a heart that will always stand firm in serving and honouring You.
Let me stand out with my gift from You, that people will anticipate it and will acknowledge Your excellence as it is presented forth.
Let Your Holy Spirit be rich in me! Let Him shine through so strongly, that there is no doubt that I am a man/woman of God.
Give me a heart that is consistent in absolutely everything I do.
Just as the king was firm in what he perceived Daniel as, help me to always be hot for Your work, diligent in my service, and consistent in my living for Christ.
Let my life cause people to run to You and just as the king did, let them turn to know You, worship You and praise You.
When I walk into a room, Father let Jesus be seen in me!
All this we pray, in Jesus’ name.
AMEN.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

#TheDanielOfMyGeneration
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying (Let’s keep our daily prayers up for the youth of today – our leaders of tomorrow)