Why Are Christians so Different?

by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
standingout2.jpgCommitted Christians stand out in areas of morals, patterns of life, and outlook. They seem odd to most people. Why do they act and live as they do?
Christ calls us to a lifestyle change rather than a temporary alteration. He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV) and “be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
A man I knew was in the midst of a terrible storm in his life. His wife had left him and her boyfriend had called the police claiming he had assaulted him. Subsequently his children were taken away and placed with his wife.
He came to me in tears, we studied and one week later he was baptized. About a month later the charges were dropped, his children were returned and she agreed to return on a trial basis. He never attended worship again.
That young man wanted a salve rather than an enduring solution. Doctors face the same problem with their patients. They dispense medicine to cure the underlying problem with the patient’s condition. However when the pain stops, the patient forgets the medicine.
When the young man’s problem was resolved, he felt the medicine was no longer needed. He simply went back to his life, unchanged. Neither he nor the patient were completely healed of their infirmities. They mistook the removal of pain for the actual cure.
Jesus wants Christians to develop a completely different mindset. He commands us to see everything in a new light; not with artificial lenses but with a new perspective. He asks for a radical change that some simply cannot handle (Matthew 19:16-22).
He asks us to be “born again” to be completely different while retaining our individuality (John 3:3-5).
Jesus calls us to consider all our actions and reactions to various situations. In most cases what he would have us to do will be unnatural as the transformation occurs (Romans 12:1,2).
For a shocking example, Jesus said we should “love our enemies” and pray for those “who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43,44).
As with most of the things God has asked us to do, they take concentrated effort. We can operate in this life on automatic pilot, doing what comes natural in all situations. Even animals can do that. Instead Jesus asks us to see everything from the new perspective he has given us.
People are seen as souls, enemies as neighbors, language, dress, and lifestyle are to be seen as evidences of the Christian life. We think of our new manner of life in a spiritual sense and weigh things toward heaven. We are then closer to what Christ was when he was on earth (Matthew 5:13-16).
Christians are simply acting with new perspectives and motivations. They realize their efforts bring greater peace, satisfaction, and guidance as children of God. They are “in” but “not of the world” (John 17:11-17).
They follow a different path dictated by God’s word because they know this is the only path to eternal life in heaven (John 14:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15). And that is worth any effort!

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