Being unique in a cookie cutter world.
There is nothing like Play-Doh, is there? Kids will take that stuff and shape, create and build things for hours. It is known for its flexible nature. I could give 2 people a different piece of Play Doh, tell them to create an object and get two unique interpretations of that object. Whereas if I were to give each person a cookie cutter and tell them to make hearts with it we would have virtually the same shape for each of them.
We live in a culture that tells us that we need to look or act a certain way based on our age. Wear these clothes, talk like this, behave this way and you will be just another cookie cutter teenager, college student, or adult, who will maybe turn out alright, but waste a lot of time getting there.
You have so much more potential than that. You are unique, not a cookie cutter. What if we lived out our lives in the context of the identity we have in Christ? In other words, what if we were happy being the unique people we are and less concerned about being a “normal” person. Normal people don’t impact the kingdom of God like unique people do. Normal people don’t make a lasting impression on the lives of people like unique people do.
“If you have ever spent time with “Where’s Waldo” books you understand this. The reason “where’s waldo” works is because they create a picture where a lot of things are the same and blend together. You would never take a picture of a single rose and ask, “Where’s the red rose?” When there is contrast, things are easy to spot.
Scripture gives us some very practical ways we can stand out from the culture around us. Here are a few from Proverbs 25.
Be Kind and Trustworthy
Now, I know this sounds overly simplistic, but consider what sort of drama you see among your people. Is it more common to take revenge on someone, or to be kind to them? Is it more common to tell secrets or to be trustworthy? It is so easy just to laugh and point with the crowd, but to show kindness to someone, now that takes some guts, especially when you are the only one.
Kindness is only one part of this, trustworthiness takes it to a whole new level.
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
“Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.” Proverbs 25:13
Have you ever been out on a hot day working in the sun? At some point you get thirsty and go to find that cool drink of water. Or you might compare this to running through the sprinkler on a hot day, or jumping into the pool or the ocean. These things refresh the body.
In other words, when you look at someone and know that you can trust them, that is refreshing. Why? It is refreshing because it is not normal.
“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.” Proverbs 25:26
If being trustworthy is like a drink of cold water, being untrustworthy and doing what is wrong, is like drinking a warm glass of mud.
The picture here, then, is a person who claims to follow Jesus Christ and then does things that are clearly not what a follower of Jesus Christ should be doing. These things muddy the water. Why does this matter for you?
Because we want to represent Jesus well. When people live two lives, it muddies the water and confuses people.
Demonstrate Self- Control
“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28
How ridiculous would it be for you to build a city without some sort of defense? The wall to the city was critical to the safety of the city.
If you are not able to say no to sin and yes to God at some level, you are vulnerable to attack. Where does self-control come from? It comes from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit. You are not going to be able to do this on your own, but you can ask God to give you the ability to say no to sin and yes to him. You can ask Him to fortify your life with His Word and His Spirit.
The world has enough people who are just getting by, we need people willing to make a difference, willing to stand up and choose to follow God relentlessly.
If you are just an average person, no one will likely notice, but if you truly follow Jesus, you will be noticed and God will be glorified.