How well do you fit in with the people around you? In school, at work, when you go shopping…how well do we blend in with others around us? It is the goal of every child to “fit in” when they go to school. Even mom asks, “Are you fitting in okay at school hon?” We are programmed to assimilate. We are motivated to look like, talk like, act like and dress like those around us so we blend in.
So, as a Christian, if we try to fit in by dressing, acting, and talking like those around us so we can associate with them, is it okay? It has been said by some of the modern-day churches, “It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, as long as your heart is in the right place.” They quote God in saying “Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart.” I submit to you that these people are quoting scripture but have no true understanding of it’s meaning or context.
Recall the story of Samuel when God told him to go to the house of Jesse to anoint the one God selected to replace Saul as king. When Samuel, a man of God, saw Eliab, Jesse’s
oldest son, he looked at him and thought “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him” This man looked like the Man of God…He looked on the outside to be a man who God would choose to be King—to rule the chosen people. From all appearance, Eliab looked like the man one would expect to be “God’s man” but his heart was not right. This verse *cannot* be twisted to say that people can look, live and act like the world on the outside, and it doesn’t matter to God because he looks at the heart. This is a severe misinterpretation of scripture—it is the exact antithesis of this falsehood. It should always be read as “while it may look holy and pure on the outside, it is the heart which truly shows the condition of a man.”
As Christians, we are to be different—we are to separate ourselves from the ways of the world.
I Pet 4:3-4 says:
“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.”
Peter is saying here that in the past, we used to engage in things of the world—lusts, drunkenness, drinking parties (banquetings), etc. The world should think we are strange because we don’t “run with them” anymore—that we don’t “fit in.”
People *should* think you are strange. I disagree with the line of thinking that we must dress, act, talk and follow the way of the world, and then tell them about Jesus once we are “one of them.” It is clear to me that we are expected to “stand out” as a peculiar people.
I Pet 2:9-12 says:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
People should be convinced by your conduct, and by the pure and holy lifestyle you live that there is a God, and salvation through Jesus, and give the Glory to God.
Are people looking at you funny? If not, they should. Be the strange, peculiar people we are called to be, and let people be convinced by your conduct to seek after God.