Be Set Apart
“So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” - 2 Timothy 2:21
For years social psychologists have been studying “crowd” or “mob” psychology in which they study how a group’s mentality differs from that of the individuals within the group. One theory that has emerged is the idea that people react differently in a group than when they are on their own. For instance, during criminal incidents, research shows that if there is a large number of people around, men and women will be less likely to intervene because they think someone else will assist. People take their cues from others in the area and think, “If they are not getting involved, neither am I.” And that kind of group thinking takes place every day.
Whether we are athletes, coaches, teachers, students, family members, church members, friends or coworkers we are all part of some kind of group. Being part of a group has great benefits, but problems arise when we abandon our personal beliefs, standards or codes of conduct.
Luke 14:34 (NIV) states, "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?" As Christians we should be different. That makes many of us uncomfortable because doing anything different immediately sets us apart. Have you heard the saying, "Don't rock the boat"? People usually get uncomfortable when someone doesn’t conform to the group’s behavior, even if it is something positive.
Instead of just rocking the boat, though, I think we need to get out of the boat. This can be done with the little decisions and actions we take every day. For example, putting away the equipment at the gym even if you just found it that way. Picking up a piece of trash instead of walking by it because you weren’t the one who littered. Returning the shopping cart to the appropriate area in spite of the fact others don't. Talking to the student who is ignored even though everyone is watching.
We need to stop making excuses for going along with the crowd. The Bible calls us to a higher standard. Romans 12:2 instructs us to not be conformed to the pattern of this world. Instead of going along with what everyone else is doing, we can show them a better way by rocking the boat and living out our faith in Christ. Even if it makes us different.
- Is being popular more important than doing what is right?
- Would those who know you best consider you a leader or a follower?
- What are some ways you can set yourself apart and show Christ to others through simple actions?
“Lord, thank You for relationships. Prompt me to do what is right even if that means being different. As I step out of the boat, help me to keep my eyes on You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”