A recent post on my social media showed a picture that stated these words, “Be the Exception”. I posted it because I wanted to challenge like-minded believers to “be the exception” to the status quo of our day. I wanted to challenge them to “be the exception” in the midst of a “Me first” society, to “be the exception” within a culture that props up anarchy and pride, and ultimately to “be the exception” because this really is God’s expectation of us.
Think about it. All throughout the New Testament, there is a continual emphasis on us, as Christ followers, are encouraged to not be of this world in thought, deed, or action but actually cut from an entirely new breed of people formed in Christ. By default, we became the exception to the world’s system of thought. Paul, in Colossians 3:8-9 wrote to the church at Colossae,
“…But you yourselves are to put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language…because you have put on a new man.”
In other words, Paul was conveying, that their ways of dealing with life’s ‘heated moments’ no longer fit them. They were now living as a new man in Christ and as such they were to live life now as the “exception” to the cultural norms of the day. But Paul doesn’t stop at just what doesn’t fit them anymore but goes on to say these are some standing characteristics that should be evident in you as the chosen of God.
“Because you are the elect of God now put on tender mercies, kindness for others, humbleness, meekness in all things, and possess the ability to endure…” (Col 3:12)
I think what Paul was emphasizing was it was not enough to stop the old attitudes and built in reactors without the evidence of the Spirit in our life producing better attitudes and better reactors. Instead of getting angry with others be kind instead.
The same is true for us today. God has redeemed us and made us new. This means that our attitudes, reactions, and decisions must reflect the new man we are continually. So how do we best do that? The answer is by walking with the Spirit.
“If we live by the Spirit now let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
I love the thought here. Walking with the Spirit…not sprinting, not jogging, not mountain climbing… WALKING! It is a picture of doing daily life with God. It’s about being mobile. Mobility matters to healthy living both naturally and spiritually. God wants us to be walking with Him. On the journey with Him.
Sure many circumstances can come to circumvent our walking and can even try to stop our mobility but God’s grace is sufficient in all things each and every time. I can remember being irritated after taking my kids to a downtown evening event in OKC. At the event, there were food trucks and I had both my kiddos and our niece and nephew who desperately wanted snow cones. Of course, I was spent emotionally from a long day’s work and not interested in waiting in line only to be stuck in a line that was long with many skippers. The longer it took the more aggravated I became. Until finally I had just had it. I was determined to let those skipping teenagers know something fierce. Only to hear the small voice of the Spirit tell me “Be kind and let it go”. All I thought about was how I had the right to say something. They were skipping little kids in my mind; this was about them. But God kept saying just be kind. It took everything in me to do it but I did. I held my tongue and moved on. To this day, I am sometimes reminded of how difficult it really can be to be “kind” to “unkind” people.
The truth is that the more we walk with the Spirit the more like God we become and the more habits like Him we possess. Even when our flesh is dying! The principle of real Spirit living can be summed in one verse and statement.
“Love God with all your heart, strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matthew 22:37-39) (Galatians 5:14)
What this means for us today is that as a follower of Christ we don’t have the option of love but the responsibility to love. We each have to be the “givers” in a world of “takers”. We really do have to be the exception!
– Pastor Jason and Pastor Amanda