Have you ever had one of your children come to you and cry because he/she recognized something was different about him/her? Christians are different. We are exhorted to be different (2 Cor. 6:14-18). In the midst of an ungodly, crooked, perverse society we are exhorted to stand for what is right. Jesus tells us His disciples are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:16-ff). It is a real challenge to be different from the world especially when the pleasure of sin and the influence of our peers are so powerful. It seems easier to go along with the crowd. However, we do our children no favor by allowing them to compromise when they are challenged for the gospel’s sake. We must teach them to stand for what is right even when it costs them. We must show them it is possible to be right in a sin sickened world.
It is challenging to be a believer in an unbelieving world. The challenge is not simply to be religious. Many folks are religious, but do not know the truth about Jesus Christ. Yes, there are religious people who believe things about Him but they are not willing to believe that He is the Christ and allow Him to make the difference in their lives. As long as they believe He lives, or that He is a good man, or good teacher, that is fine with them. But believing Him to be the son of God imposes obligation on all of us. The obligation is to obey Him.
We are also challenged by the gospel to do what the Lord says (Matt. 7:21-24). Jesus never promised that everyone who acted religious would enter the kingdom of heaven. The philosophy of the world is do something religiously whether God approves or not. Just do something! Our real challenge is to do what the Lord said. Think about it: we could save every person on the face of the earth if we were permitted to let everybody be saved in his or her own way. But, lost people will not be saved like that. People will only be saved by doing what the Lord says. The real question in judgment is not what will we say but what will God say (Matt. 7:21).
Furthermore, Christians are challenged to live securely in an insecure world. Fears, anxiety, and stress are all about us. These affect us all. Most anxiety is not caused over fear of not having enough to eat but fear of not being able to keep up with someone else. Today an adjusted person is one who can balance his pep pills with his tranquilizers in order to take his weekly trip to the psychiatrist. Why, in the land of plenty are so many people living insecurely? The answer is, because we trust in false standards. We all need to be reminded that security does not rest in things (Lk. 12:13-15). Life is not what we can gather around ourselves. People live and die with dread who are surrounded with wealth and things. They never learn to really enjoy what they have. Our challenge is to put our trust in God, not things. As Christians we do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future. We do not have all the answers, but we do know Who does. Security is an attitude of heart. It is not what happens to us that makes a difference; it is our attitude toward what happens to us that matters. No one can take from us our right to choose our attitude toward our circumstance in life.
As Christians we face a great challenge given to us by God. He challenges us to “come out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not what is unclean and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.” That is our challenge. We must show the world what kind of people we are by accepting the challenge. We will only purify the world by accepting God’s challenge.