A few nights ago, I was really upset with my family. I knew that I was not behaving the way Jesus wanted me to, but I just felt hopeless, like I did not have the strength to do what He wanted me to do. I was talking to Him and telling Him that it was no use to try to be nice because I was too tired, but He just said, "Love." I was silent for a minute. "What do You mean, Lord?" I said, even though I thought I knew the answer. "Just love them," He replied. So I began with my mom. "She has sacrificed so much to homeschool me. And she helps me take care of all of my pets. And I can talk to her about anything and trust her with everything." I was beginning to feel better already. Now for my brother. "He is my best friend. He is hilarious and can make me laugh even when I am so mad at him. He is so kind to other people and can make friends really easily." I stopped. I was in awe; I was not really mad any more! Still, I wanted to continue. This time, however, I began to pray for people I knew who did not know Jesus as their Savior. I completely forgot what I was so upset about; it was amazing. Now that I look back on it, I have a pretty good idea what the world would have told me to do. "You are mad at your family? Well, you just stay mad at them until they apologize. You don't need to be nice to them or even think nice thoughts about them." Not surprisingly, Jesus told me to do the exact opposite of what the world tells me.
The world says, "Hate." God says, "Love."
The world says, "Put you first." God says, "Put others first."
The world says, "Seek money and fame." God says, "Seek Me."
The world says, "Get revenge on your enemies." God says, "Turn the other cheek and love them."
The list goes on and on. Most of the time, what God tells us doesn't make sense to us. In our minds, it's not rational. Let's take His command: Love your enemies. It's easy for us (me included!) to talk ourselves out of obeying God. "Okay God. I know You said love your enemies, but what good does that do? Nobody else is loving their enemies! You don't want me to be an outcast, do You?" I can just see Him smiling and shaking His head. He doesn't want us to fit in with the world.
"But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him." (Psalm 4:3)
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)
Jesus is instructing us to be different from the world. He knows very well that it will be hard and difficult, but His way is always best. Also, since our Lord was/is wholly different from the world, and we are His followers, shouldn't we be different, too?