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Living Beyond the Norm

April 2, 2024

Read Scripture Reference - 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NKJV)

The Word of God commands us to live in such a way that our lives not only stand out but also draw others to glorify God through the evidence of our changed lives. This is our identity and purpose as Believers. In Acts 11:26, we read that in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians because their lives resembled that of Jesus.

Did you notice that this was in Antioch and not in Jerusalem? The culture in Antioch was different compared to the culture in Jerusalem, yet the disciples' lives were modeled after Christ. Essentially, they lived differently from the normal ways of the people in Antioch. Their lives stood out because they revolved around living a life that conforms to and is in accordance with Jesus Christ's standards, patterns, and teachings. As people observed them and how they lived their lives and interacted with those around them, people started calling them Christians. Let’s explore some ways in which they lived differently and became exceptional witnesses. 

Living a Christian life glorifies God and serves as a testament to His grace and goodness, encouraging others to acknowledge and praise Him. Matthew 5:16 instructs us, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”

Similarly, 1 Peter 2:12 advises us to “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” The formula is clear and simple: God gives us life, and we live a life filled with good deeds, resulting in God receiving glory. Our goal as Christians is to allow God’s blessings to flow through us in ways that bless others, ultimately bringing glory to His name. Matthew 5:14 compares us to a city built on a hill, a strategic location that cannot be hidden.

Wherever God has placed us is strategic, and we are sent there to make a difference. When we live in this manner, our lives attract attention because people see something different and desirable in us, which in turn brings glory to God and draws people towards Him (John 12:32). 

The Spirit helps us ensure that our actions and lifestyles reflect Christ’s teachings. You may wonder, what differentiates a Christian from a moralist? The difference lies in the fact that as Christians, we have the Spirit of Christ, which sets us apart. As a result of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we belong to Jesus (Romans 8:9).

Unlike others, Christians don’t operate from the flesh but from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God also intercedes and assists us in all things (Romans 8:26). To illustrate, consider the analogy of sailing versus rowing a boat. The sailor only needs to align his sails and rely on the wind (the Spirit of God) to move the boat forward. In contrast, rowing a boat depends solely on the rower’s strength and effort. Similarly, as Christians, our guidance and power that propel us forward come from the Holy Spirit, surpassing our own capabilities. 

Wherever God has placed us is strategic, and we are sent there to make a difference.

Living beyond the norm means that as Christians, we have authority over the devil, can resist and overcome the wiles of the enemy (Ephesians 6:11), and most importantly, we have victory and triumph in spiritual battles (Luke 10:19). This means that we are constantly dressed and equipped in the full armor of God. For instance, while others may succumb to depression, we can overcome it with confidence, knowing that God has granted us victory, breakthrough, and the strength to rise above it. The one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). The enemy may attempt to attack us, but he will never succeed as long as we stand our ground and remain focused on the promise of victory and God’s authority, regardless of what the enemy throws our way. 

Lastly, a life beyond the norm means that we have full access to God's choicest blessings. When we live in accordance with the teachings and instructions of Christ, we attract His blessings to us. We enjoy continuous favor and provision. In Galatians 3:14, God promised Abraham blessings, and when we live a life beyond the norm, we also gain access to all the promises God made to Abraham. These blessings include peace, joy, spiritual riches, and not just material wealth. We are also assured of protection from harm (Luke 10:19). This guarantees that we not only have a blessed life on earth but also a blessed life beyond it (Numbers 23:10). We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6), which are invaluable and eternal. 

We are not called to fit into the norm or blend in, but to stand out in unique ways that reflect the uniqueness of Christ's love, grace, and truth in our lives. This calling is not about drawing attention to ourselves, but about living beyond the norm in ways that bring attention to God, showcasing His transformative power at work within us. You are set apart and sent out! 

Song of Worship  

Tho' none go with me, I still will follow, Tho' none go with me I still will follow, 

Tho' none go with me, I still will follow; No turning back, no turning back. 

Song: I have decided to follow Jesus by Simon Marak 

Prayer - Thank God that He has chosen you and set you apart to Himself. Declare that you maintain Godly character and exemplify Jesus as you relate with people in your everyday interactions. So it is, and shall be in Jesus' name Amen 

Bible in 1 year: Ruth


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