“Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man” (1 Samuel 10:1-6).
While we are fully aware of what eventually happened to Saul, we see that when the Holy Spirit gets a hold of a person they can be changed and transformed for God’s use. It is exactly the same Holy Spirit that works in the believer’s life today, for once we come to Christ our lives are transformed, we are renewed, and we become different to what we were. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). The world used to control our thinking and action, but now we are a new creation. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are not meant to be under the impulses and materialistic drives of the world.
Where the difference begins
Everyone today is trying to be different, but in reality they are all the same. The world without Christ thinks, speaks and behaves the same. As believers we are truly different and the world knows it. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19). The fact is, we cannot be the same as them because we no longer belong to the world. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). Everything about us is different since we accepted Christ as Saviour. Our speech, behaviour, standards, choices and outlook have been purified. As with the apostle Paul, we declare, “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21), as an expression of our devotion to the Lord. We no longer identify with a world that “lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19).
The difference is observable
The Lord Jesus describes His followers as “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. Neither of these things are meant to be hidden away, for if the “salt” is not in evidence then our lives are “good for nothing”, and if the light is covered it cannot achieve its purpose (Matthew 5:13-16). Is the Lord not making it abundantly clear that the world must see and recognise the difference He has made to our lives? If there is no observable difference in us since we came to Christ, then it is highly likely that we have never been born again. Instead we are deceiving ourselves and are still walking in the “broad … way, that leadeth to destruction” instead of the “narrow … way, which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:13-14). Unless we have removed ourselves from the world, we will be caught up in its fashions, standards and opinions. Those who have dared to be different no longer want even to touch the putrid, death-ridden corpse of that is the world. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). Those who are different are now clean vessels fit for the Lord’s use. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
What being different produces
The apostle John states that we should live our lives the way Jesus lived His. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Since God never asks us to do the impossible, then it is possible to do this. Everyone who is unwilling to swim against the tide will consider such a command beyond his or her reach. This is why a few have dared to be different from the rest and given it a go. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Those who decide to be different are given the power of the Holy Spirit to do it. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
If we “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15), then precious and eternal fruit will be evident in our lives. In our past life, we produced nothing but sin, and it left us unsatisfied, miserable and lost. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Now things are different, for we manifest the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25). This “fruit” describes the character of the Lord in a believer’s life. It is this that makes us observably different.
It is a sad fact that the majority of people who attend a place of worship have no intention of changing their lives. They will never ask Jesus to take control or transform their souls. Why? The answer is within themselves. They love their sin too much. “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). They want to be appear like, dress like, and speak like the world. They do not want to stand out from the crowd when it comes to the Lord. They are too ashamed of Christ to be different from the world. Let us dare to be different, proclaim our faith in the Lord and truly live the way believers should. “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12) … “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).