“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
I started out my life in an unsaved, typical worldly home.
I remember my family sitting in the Catholic church as the priest spoke to us in Latin. The beautiful stained-glass windows kept my rapt attention while the priest went on about things I couldn’t understand.
I remember cowering under my blankets some nights, trying to hide from my parents raised voices. I just knew they would get divorced. I just knew our family would get torn apart.
I remember watching my dad sit back in his lazy boy chair, a cigarette dangling from his fingers. The smoke would curl into the air, making its way to where I was sitting, until it was wrapped around my face, causing me to get a headache.
I remember sneaking into my older sister’s room, where they had the radio set to a rock station, as they tried on the new clothes they had just bought from the store. They giggled as they slid on the tight jeans, and low-cut tops. They primped their hair into the typical 80’s styles and smeared on bright shades of eye-shadow and lipstick, while they talked about boys and school dances.
As a little girl, I had an irrational fear that something terrible would happen to my family. I felt comforted and at peace when my parents were happy, and complete dred and sadness when there was any discord.
And then one day, it all changed. One day, someone knocked on our front door. They told us about Jesus, and how He had died to save us from our sins. My mom got saved that day. Soon, my dad and sisters also accepted Christ as their Saviour!
Over the next few years, my worldly family transformed into a family living for the Lord.
Every time the church doors were open, my family was there. If a job got in the way of church attendance, well, a new job was found! Dad gave up smoking, and my sisters and I got rid of our music, pants, movies, dances, and worldly conversations. Mom and Dad didn’t fight like they used to. There was a new excitement in our family! We were trying to live for the Lord, and we were addicted to the preaching of the Word of God. Our family now had peace, and true joy!
“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
Fear not, dear readers! The purpose of this article is not to preach the sins of wearing pants or going to the movies. It’s not to point my finger in your face about contemporary music or sporadic church attendance. This article is only for those who are serious about living for the Lord. For those who want to stand before God someday and say they did everything they could to serve Him. The purpose of this article is to ask you one question.
How are you living your life separate from the world?
The Bible tells us that we need to be living our lives as praise to the God who saved us. But just how can we do that? How can we live our lives as a testimony of all that God has done for us? Well, it’s a little hard. It’s a little embarrassing. And we are going to have to stick out from the crowd a little bit. The Bible tells us we can be a testimony to the world by being….peculiar.
Peculiar: not usual or normal; different from the usual; odd, curious, eccentric, queer
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” – 2 Peter 2:9
Alright, alright! I get it, I really do! We all want to live peculiarly, without appearing to be “weird”. We don’t want to be that girl in the crowd that everyone points to and says, “look at her long flowing skirt, she must be one of those weird Christians!” Thankfully, the word “weird” does not appear in the definition of peculiar!
So what does living peculiarly really mean, anyway? How does God want us to live a separate life from the world?
Communication – The hardest part of our bodies to control is the smallest member. Our tongues. Someday we are going to give an account to God for every word we have ever spoken (Matt 12:36). As a Christian, our words can set us apart from the world. Our words can make us peculiar.
Wives, we shouldn’t be trash-talking our husbands to our friends. That is what the world does. Watch any Disney TV show, and you’ll see that dad is a bumbling idiot to the world. You can live a separate life from the world by talking good about your husband in front of your friends and co-workers!
Teenagers, did you know that when you are talking in the bathroom at church or school, that other people actually hear you? What are you talking about girls? Is it pleasing to the Lord? Is it a testimony to the little girls in the bathroom who still need the stool to reach the sink? Is it discouraging the other church members who are hoping YOU will be a good influence on their own wayward teenager? You can be separate from the world by walking away from that group of gossiping teenage girls!
Ladies, our conversations should lift up others in the Lord. Anything else is corrupt. We should speak with grace and kindness. Our conversation should make us separate from the world. Don’t fool yourself into thinking our mouths don’t affect others around us. It surely does and at any age. Watch your mouth!
“But now ye also put off all these things; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29
Loving Your Enemies – That boss who makes you feel guilty for wanting to take off for the College and Carrer retreat? Yes, you need to love her. That teacher who gets you benched from your first game because she gave you a demerit? Love her! That old man in the grocery store who just yelled for you to shut up your crying newborn? You gotta love him, too. Your mother-in-law, who seems to struggle giving up control over her son? Sorry, you still have to love her!
We can be separate from the world by loving those who do us wrong. We can be separate from the world by serving those who are unthankful for our efforts. We can be separate from the world by doing good to those who only think evil of us, and maybe even want to kill us.
Wives, when your coworkers are bashing their husbands for not appreciating them, and bragging about everything they are NOT going to do for them, be a child of the Highest by continuing to do good for your husbands!
Teenagers, when that girl you KNOW is talking about you behind your back comes to you for help with something, be a child of the Highest by helping her and speaking kindly!
Ladies, we need to be kind to others from all walks of life, and from all cultures. We may feel intimidated and afraid, but being a child of the Highest means loving those we fear!
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:35
Appearance – I promise, I’m not going to preach to you about whether or not you should be wearing pants. However, the Bible has plenty to say about modesty, and about not having the same appearance as the world.
modest: not very large in size or amount; not too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities; not showing or feeling great or excessive pride; not showing too much of a person’s body
Modest is more of an attitude than clothing. It is the putting on of the spirit of humility. Your clothes help you portray that spirit that is inside you.
Look, I’m not saying that you need to wear a paper bag, or ugly, brown, scratchy, high-collar clothing! Modest basically means moderation. Are you dressing in moderation? Are you dressing with a humble spirit before God? Or are your clothes flashy and screaming “look at me!” Do your clothes reveal a lot of skin? Can my teenage son see the space between your breasts? Can he see your underwear line through your skinny jeans or skirt? Are your shorts so short that he can see your butt cheeks when you bend over? Sorry that I’m being so blunt girls!
We can be separate from the world by dressing differently than the world. I’m going to say it…that girl in the long, flowing skirt that everyone thought was weird? No one doubted she was a Christian. You don’t doubt the Amish are Amish, because of how they dress. You don’t doubt the Muslim are Muslim, because of how they dress. So how can people look at YOU in a crowd and know you are a Christian? No, I’m not suggesting that you throw away your pants, unless you know that God is calling you to do so. But you can dress in a humble spirit, with moderation before God and the world. God does call some of us to give up our pants. God does want more from some of us than from others. However, God is calling ALL of us to be modest!
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” – 1 Timothy 2:9
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
Our Eyes – Another way we can be separate from the world is to avoid condoning sin by what we allow ourselves to see. Mostly I’m talking about what we watch on TV. When we are trying to live our lives for the Lord by reading scripture and hearing the preaching of the Word, we are filling ourselves with light. When we allow ourselves to watch movies that have sex, swearing, and murder in it, we are letting in evil. Jesus told us in Matthew that when we allow a little evil into our eyes, our whole bodies become filled with darkness!
Ladies young and old, we can be separate from the wold and live a peculiar life by avoiding wicked TV shows and movies. It’s going to be hard. You won’t be able to blend into the crowd while being separate with this one!
Are your friends going to watch an R-rated movie at the theater? You can be separate from the world by meeting them for ice cream afterward.
Are your classmates huddled around a TV watching the newly released movie “IT”? Tell your friends goodbye and go home. Seriously.
Want to watch movies with your family? Get a movie filter like Clear Play, and determine to watch movies at home!
What we allow into our minds (and heart), will eventually come out of our mouths. If we really want to live a separate life in praise to the God who saved us from an eternity in Hell, we need to be careful what we allow our eyes to see!
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” – Psalms 101:3
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23
What we Hear – Controlling what we allow into our minds by way of our ears is a big part of living a peculiar life!
Music – If I were to pull up next to your car at a stop light, would I be able to tell right away if you were listening to Christian music? I’m not going to tell you what you should or should not listen to. I’m just going to ask you….does your music sound different from the world’s music? We can live a peculiar life by abstaining from worldly music, or music that sounds like the world’s music!
Swearing – When we are at a work, it can be difficult to avoid hearing your coworkers swear. When you allow yourself to be surrounded by foul language every day, it will eventually, one day, slip out of your own mouth, too! Once again, to be separate from the world in what you allow into your ears, you may have to take a stand and ask your coworkers to not swear around you. Tell them that it offends you!
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord .” – Psalms 40:3
Our Bodies are Temples – The world today would agree with you if you told them your body was a temple…until you got to the part where you said it was GOD’S temple!
All throughout the old testament, God gave meticulous directions on how He wanted the Temple to be built. He gave specific directions right down to the details of the hem of the priest’s garments (Ex. 28:33). Why did He do this? Why did He care so much? Because the temple was where God was going to physically dwell.
Paul warned us to not defile our bodies, because our bodies are the temple of God! God is dwelling in us!
Altering our Appearance – We can live separately from the world by not altering our temples. Just as we wouldn’t spray graffiti all over the church sanctuary, we shouldn’t mark our bodies with tattoos or extreme piercings.
What we Ingest – We can live separately from the world by taking care of what we put in our temples. Be careful about the kinds of medications you take, the foods you eat, and even what you drink! Smoking kills your lungs and alcohol alters your thinking. Certain medications can become addictive and lead to anxiety, depression, and the need for stronger and even more drugs! And I have to say it…food can be addictive too!
Christian women, let’s be separate from the world by taking care of our bodies!
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” – 1 Corinthians
Stumbling Blocks – But what about our liberty we have in Christ?
I knew you would ask me this.
Yes, we have liberty in Christ. If you have studied the scriptures and listened to the teaching and preaching of the Word, and still feel it’s OK to live like the world, that is between you and God. You will not lose your salvation by getting a tattoo of a cross, or by piercing your belly button. Don’t forget, though, that someday we will stand before our Father and give an account for how we lived our lives for Him!
One more thing. If you decide to claim that liberty, don’t flaunt it in the faces of those who are trying to be seperate from the world. For example, if you have no problem going to an R-rated movie, don’t invite your Christian friend who just went down to the alter last week feeling convicted about the movies she watches! Have discretion and respect for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to walk a peculiar life.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13
“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” – 1 Corinthians 8:9
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1
Living a peculiar life is not always easy. Sometimes you feel alone. Years after living a peculiar life, you may be tempted to give up those things that seperated you from the world. Don’t get weary in well doing! In time, you will reap the rewards of a life lived for Christ!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9
Edited to say: I wrote this article in answer to questions my kids have been asking regarding our families standards and convictions. It is not directed towards any particular person or group of persons. I promise!