There you are in the midst of a gathering of friends and family. The conversation is centered around worldly things. Perhaps there’s also drinking, smoking, and foul language. You simply cannot relate. You feel excluded, cast aside, devalued—like something is wrong with you, a party pooper.
If you are a Christian, walking with the Lord, you will feel this way at times.
Once when I was in a situation like that. I was feeling weird and left out. But the next day during my quiet time, my heavenly Father reminded me of something I had temporarily forgotten:
I’m supposed to feel out of place!
I’m not supposed to feel comfortable in those circumstances.
I have been set apart, holy for the Lord. I don’t belong to this world. Of course, I will feel out of place! I belong to God my Father who bought me with His Son’s precious blood.
Too often we get our sense of value from others; what they think about us. That’s why peer pressure can be so strong. But the reality of our true worth is wrapped up in how God sees us. If you have been redeemed your identity is in Christ. Being separate or different is not an indication that you have less value and have been cast aside. Rather it means you are distinct and set aside for a special purpose and therefore very valuable and dearly loved (Col 3:12).
Here’s an illustration that may help:
Our everyday dishes have their purpose and we are glad that we have them to use. Then there’s our China dishes that are set out only for special occasions. We enjoy them as well. Both are useful. In this example, both types of dishes represent saved people, each with a different purpose.
Now consider dirty dishes (=the lost). You wouldn’t store your clean everyday or China dishes with them would you?
Now I am NOT saying we are not to associate with unbelievers or consider them as less valuable. NO and a million no’s!
Every human being is valuable to God. So much so that He sent His One and only Son to die for all of us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8).
We do need to associate with the lost if we are to reach them with the Gospel. But repeatedly in Scripture God says we are not to live as they do; our lifestyles should be different (Gal 5:13-26, Eph 4:17-32). We are to be in the world, but not of the world (1 Jn 2:15).
So when you are in the midst of unbelievers or worldly Christians, just think of yourself as a clean dish on a table set with dirty dishes. You feel out of place because you are. In fact, they may also feel out of place. That’s why they often jeer us—trying to make themselves feel better.
What can you do the next time you’re feeling out of place for God?
You can remind yourself that…
- You too were once a dirty dish.
- You cannot clean others up, but can point them to the One who can.
- You can be an example of what it looks like to be a clean vessel for Christ, and treat them with love, kindness, compassion, and patience (Col 3:12).
- You don’t need the pleasures of this world to live a full life. Your plate is filled with true riches.
- You don’t have to give into peer pressure to feel good. You have better feelings of God’s love, joy and peace available to you.
So, my friend, the next time you feel excluded and out of place in this world, remember…
…You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9)
Here’s a free resource to help you see yourself the way God does.
(NIV) The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.