Standing Apart From Everyone Else
"You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." Leviticus 20:26 (NIV 1984)
Our daughter got the call ... the invitation she had been waiting for. It was the party everyone wanted to go to and she'd been invited!
She was so excited. However, one step remained: securing her parents' permission. She knew it would be difficult. But she was sure once she explained the significance of the invitation, we would say "yes."
We did not.
"Everyone else is going. I will be the only one not there. It's not fair!" To which, we firmly replied, "We are not like everyone else. There will be no parental supervision. You absolutely may not go."
This happened often throughout our daughter's middle and high school years. And because she could not always do what everyone else did, she often felt left out.
As her parents, we were establishing boundaries and limits. Our actions, though hard at times, taught her a powerful biblical truth: Because we don't belong to everyone else, we don't live like everyone else.
We belong to Someone else; we belong to God.
Because we are His, God has set us apart to be different. He does not want us to squeeze into the mold set by everyone else.
This struggle has existed for thousands of years. Israel desperately tried to fit in with the nations around them. They wanted to be like everyone else. But God refused to allow this. He set Israel apart to be a holy nation. He established boundaries for His children just as we do for our children.
In Leviticus 20:26, God commanded Israel, "You are to be holy to me, because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own" (NIV 1984). God set Israel apart to intentionally distinguish them from everyone else.
God did not do this to punish the Israelites or deprive them. Just the opposite. He specifically chose them for good. Being set apart not only was a privilege but also carried with it amazing blessings, far more than they could ever imagine.
Keeping that in mind, it's exciting to know God calls us to be holy too. He calls us into a personal and intimate relationship. And when we say "yes," we receive good gifts just as the Israelites did. God gives us a fresh start with Him ... a new life where our past is wiped clean. God sees us through the eyes of His Son, Jesus. We are no longer like everyone else. God sets us apart to live a new life in Him.
My husband and I make those same hard choices for ourselves. A few years ago we stepped out of a dinner club. We felt uncomfortable with the direction the group was taking. It wasn't easy being left out of some fun parties. The night of those events, I missed being with everyone else. I felt what my daughter felt.
You and I may have to make the same hard choices. We may not be able to watch certain movies with our friends on Girl's Night. Or we may have to speak up on an issue close to God's heart, causing us to stand out, rather than fit in.
What I have learned through making the hard choices is they come with a great reward: enjoying the pleasure of our heavenly Father.
We belong to the Creator of heaven and earth. He created us in His image and loves us with an everlasting love. Today, let's be set apart from others and set apart for HIM by making some hard choices so we may live in the fullness of all He has for us.
Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me and setting me apart to live for You. Keep me from wanting to be like "everyone else." In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Write down one choice you can make today to say "no" to everyone else and "yes" to God. Take an action step toward making that happen.
Read 1 Peter 1:15-16. What does it look like in your life to be holy?
1 Peter 1:15-16, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" (NIV 1984)
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!" (NIV 1984)