By John A. Smith
“Stickin’ Out and Fittin’ In”
I am somebody special, unique and important. There is not another me! The same is true for you. But with a name like “John Smith,” I’m also rather ordinary. I have the most common blood type and have a rather typical family. I am also an odd ball. I don’t fit many of the molds that the world has produced. In fact the best compliment that I have ever received was one of surprise. When one person found out that I was a preacher they said, “Well, you sure don’t act like one!”
Everyone who strives to be a child of God will find themselves in this dilemma. We are ordinary people with unique personalities who go quietly about our everyday duties. We try to fit in while we stick out.
For the young person, particularly the teenager, this dilemma often exacts a great deal of anguish. They want to fit in while maintaining a degree of individuality (which of course must fit the accepted and popular mold). It seems that every young person wants to be a part of a clique or group. This makes them vulnerable to external pressure to behave in certain ways that may not be wise or healthy. As their world expands to include more people, and they become more concerned with the judgments of others, the dilemma of peer pressure becomes greater. Parents and young people can take heart because it can be turned into a positive and healthy experience.
God Expects Us To Stick Out From The Crowd!
We are to be separate from the world and to live above the standard of the world.- Peter describes us as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9). In 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 Paul said, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness. . . Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” If we want to be the sons of God, then we must determine not to fit the world’s mold.
We are to live separate from the world, but we are not to isolate ourselves from the world. When Jesus prayed for his disciples’ protection, he did not want them taken out of the world. He simply wanted them protected while they were in the world (Jn. 17:15-16). We are not to live like hermits viewing the world through peep-holes. We are not to remove ourselves from the mainstream of society as the Amish have attempted. We have been sent into the mainstream of the world to provide salt and light.
Our dilemma is that we are to stick out while we fit in. Of one man it was said: he was not a recluse. He attended weddings, funerals and feasts. He enjoyed the mountains and the sea. He talked freely with fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, religious and civil leaders. He shared the common weariness of travel and public activity. But he still said, “I am not of this world.” He was not shaped in its image. We are to strive for the same uniqueness as Christ.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 11, p. 333
June 6, 1991