Every Monday I’ll be posting something to do with maintaining sexual integrity under the category “Keeping it Clean” Hope it you find it helpful.
Odd, by God
Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. - I Peter 4:4
If everyone’s walking north but you’re headed south, you don’t need to work too hard to let them know you’re going a different direction. Your walk says it all.
And what it says about you is that you are, among other things, different. Different in your direction; different in your unwillingness to walk with the crowd; different, perhaps, even in the way you travel. Without even trying, you look, and are, odd. Oddities stand out, either because they inspire, entertain, enrage, or are deeply misunderstood. Count on all four if you’re going south when north is the majority’s choice.
For the serious disciple, oddness is part of the job description. It was so of Israel, to whom God said “and ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy and have severed you from other people that ye should be mine.” (Leviticus 20:26) and it’s true today of those to whom Peter referred to as a “peculiar people.” (I Peter 2:9) In fact, as he said in the verse quoted above, our very direction, i.e. our way of speech, manner and life, sometimes puts the “strange” label on us and can even cause, as he said, evil speaking to come our way. (“He’s so self-righteous”; “She’s so uptight”; “They’re so fanatical”) Often it’s not what we do that brings the heat, but what we don’t do. We don’t (let’s hope!) resort to foul words when we’re angry, jump in on the office gossip when everyone’s tearing an absent co-worker apart, join the guys after work for a jaunt to the strip club, roll in and out of affairs, etc. We say no when many say yes, because as believers we’ve been made odd, by God, who’s not mincing words when he says ”Be ye holy for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16)
Of course, oddness should be walked more than talked. I wish someone had hammered that into me when I was first saved at age 16. My own insecurities (and vanity?) had me convinced I needed to megaphone my newfound “other” direction with buttons on my shirt, a cross around my neck, labels with Christian sayings on my school books, a dictionary-sized Bible that I conspicuously toted everywhere, and bumper stickers on my car, all of which announced that I AM SAVED AND YOU ARE NOT AND I AM DIFFERENT AND YOU’D BETTER GET SAVED SO YOU CAN BE DIFFERENT TOO! If only I’d have shut up and let my walk speak for itself, then when I did speak, I’m sure the harmony between actions and words would have made a more effective, albeit less noisy, witness. So let’s trust this simple truth: Living the life is what makes the statement; words, used judiciously in love, accent it.
Which means we take Paul at his word when he said, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” (Ephesians 5:3) The rationale? Because we belong to Him, first and foremost, and the bodies He’s entrusted us with are to be used in ways that honor, point to and please Him. (I Corinthians 6:20) But there’s also a God-given strategy to all this, as Paul told Philemon:
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philemon 2:15)
Read the paper, listen to the late night stand-ups (if you must) and watch the commentators and I think you’ll agree that, when it comes to the Biblical commands of chastity, fidelity and holiness, the world largely and somewhat accurately looks at us and sneers, “They say they don’t, but they do.”
Today, I would like to be part of a widespread, much needed reformation within the Church that, if realized, could finally generate an awed response about the odd people who are truly, within and without, odd by God, of whom it may finally be said, “They say they don’t. And you know what? They don’t! How do they don’t?”