I can remember my English teacher in high school attempting to teach us proper grammar. He was particularly attentive to the proper use of prepositions. He would always want us to ask him for candy and such but you had to ask properly just exactly where the candy could be found. I would ask, “Mr. Good, where is the candy at?” And he would always reply “behind the at.” It took me years to figure out why he said that. I know I am a grammatical genius!. One of the things I did learn was that you were supposed to say “different from” rather than “different than”. I am not sure if this was his preference or an actual rule but I did seem to get that one right on the test. Which by the way when you got an “A” on the test he would give you a crisp brand new one dollar bill so you can imagine how hard I tried to get an “A” in his classes.
This concept of “different from” caused me to think about God’s design for us as His children. We are created in the image of His Son to be different from the world. The Apostle Peter said that we are to be a “peculiar people”. A people who are different from others not in general appearance but different in our form and function. In Luke 6:24-47 Christ deals with how we as His followers should be different from others in our concerns, our responses, our motives, and our actions. It is through these differences that we have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others.
Bring about change in our world is a huge area of concern for many people. But few people realize what type of change is important. Many today are going after change that is surface level change and while it looks good it does little to make a real impact on our society. Those who make an impact go after a different type of change, they go after a core change. A core change is a change at the heart level. Changes at the heart level do not happen easily in fact they are the rarest of all changes. There is really only one way in which these types of changes can be influenced to happen. That one way is by one who has experienced this type of change revealing what it is to have been changed.
Being “different from” reveals. Being “different from” makes a difference. Being “different from” fulfills your calling. Note the following thoughts about each of these statements–
- Being “different from” reveals. It reveals Christ. Christ came to show a different way to the Father. When He came to earth everything about Him was different. His difference rubbed some people the wrong way and others it revealed to them that He was the Messiah. As we look at the life of Christ we see He lived different from every one else. We see that He acted different from everyone else. It was in His different that we found a different way to live. In His difference we found that the way to live was to die and that the way to greatness was to be the servant. Christ revealed to us a better way by being “different from.”
- Being “different from” makes a difference. It makes a difference because it stands out. We are called to stand out, to let our light shine for all to see. We cannot make a difference if we are not in contrast to what is being offered. Mankind is driven by selfish desires and ambitions. We as followers of Christ must have a different driving force. We must be driven by a love for God and a love for others. We must be different and be concerned not with our own success but the success of others. When this difference is seen questions will be asked as to why and when the question as to why we act differently comes up we are blessed to reveal Christ and His Gospel. We are to make a difference by being “different from.”
- Being “different from” fulfills your calling. We are called to be peculiar. We are called to love and prefer one another. We are called to live a life that is all about Christ. The only way that we can fulfill these callings is by being “different from.” Different from the typical human actions and responses, instead of hate we are to love, instead of judgment we are to forgive, instead of me I allow you. It is in these actions that we find fulfillment and reveal that we are “different from”.