2016 Resolution: Be Different

2016 Resolution:
Be Different
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
January 3rd, 2015
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Today I want to challenge you to make a resolution for 2016. 

Romans 12:2 – 
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

2 Corinthians 6:16-18
I will dwell among them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be My people.
17 Therefore, come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord;
do not touch any unclean thing,
and I will welcome you.
18 I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.

Our Topic today and what our resolution is focused on is being different than the rest of the world. 

These two scriptures point this out to us.  The first scripture says “do not conform to this age” (i.e. don’t do what they are doing) and our second scripture tells us to be “separate from the world” or to be different.

Many people see the Bible as a list of things they cannot do…Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t drink, Don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t have any kind of fun at all…you just sit there and read your Bible.

But this is not really what scripture is telling us with all of these do’s and don’ts.  It is true that the Children of Israel (and us) are given a bunch of do’s and dont's, but part of what God was saying with these laws was…look, you see other nations and other religions doing these things…I want you to worship me in a different way.  You see, God had chosen Israel for the purpose of setting them apart from the rest of the world.

And the reason I give us this challenge today, is because as Christians, we are children of God and that means we are set apart, to be different.  This is supposed to be part of the attraction to the unsaved…When they look at our life, and compare it to theirs, they should see something different…something that they want…and this should drive them to ask questions…which should ultimately lead them to truth and give us the opportunity to share the good news.

Now to help us get started with this resolution, here are three things we can start doing now.

1. Rest

Do you realize that if you feel you must work 7 days a week, you are a slave?

Deuteronomy 5:15
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Here is the thing, if we feel we must work 7 days a week, and rest is something we will do when we die, then we have become enslaved. Because we are enslaved to whatever it is we are working for.

Perhaps we feel we have to work so much in order to pay off bills.  And when we feel this way, then we have become enslaved to the bills

Maybe we feel we have to work so much so that we can get ahead in life, and when we do, then we are slaves to our goals.

Or maybe we feel we have to work much because we don’t disappoint someone else and when we feel this way then we are slaves to people’s opinions.

If we feel we don’t have the freedom to rest as God commands us to, then we are slaves to something else.  And if we are slave to something else, then that prevents us from being a servant to God.

You’ve probably heard the saying “We make time for what’s important to us.”  This actually isn’t true at all.  We cannot make time, instead we take time…

We take time from one thing and we give it to something else.  And it’s not always to something we think is important, but rather is important to that thing which has enslaved us.  For instance, family may be important to us, but making more money is important to our bills, and so we take time from our family and we give it to our bills.

What we really need to do is start taking time back so we can have a Sabbath - a day of rest.

But this is not how the rest of the world thinks or works, the world will tell you, if you want to get ahead, you gotta work, work, work!!!

But this is not true…

By the Way –
Truth be told, the most successful people in the world…not only take the entire weekends off (and usually spend it with family) they also take they take vacations…and they don’t work during them.  They give their minds time to rest, to rejuvenate, to restart and this is what gives them the ability to get ahead.

The next thing to get us started in being different is to be generous and to give.

The world will tell you and our brain will agree, that if you want more, then you have to save more and that you should only give when you have extra and even then you should only give to those who are extremely needy.

But what God tells us is to be generous and to give to the needy, to give a tithe to the church and God will provide your needs.

When the rest of the world is telling you to hold on to every penny you earn or to spend it on yourselves…the Bible tells us to stand out by being generous and being giving.

By the Way –
Some of the most successful people (and richest) in the world are the most giving and generous people in the world.

And the last thing that I will mention to help us get started in being different than the world is: when the rest of the world sees fear, then we should see opportunity.

When the Children of Israel were trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptians, what God tried to teach them was that they did not need to see this situation and fear (and as a result surrender), but instead they should stand strong in their faith and see it as an opportunity for God to show his power…and that is just what He did.

In our current day and age we see a lot of things, that can cause worry of fear…but when the rest of the world is fearful or is worried, perhaps we need to see opportunity.

Take for example the huge rise in the Muslim and atheist communities in our country.  As we see their numbers increase we have a choice…we can see this and fear what is going to happen to “us Christians” or fear what is going to happen to “our country”…


We can see this as an opportunity.  Now more than ever, we have more opportunity, and more ability to share the good news of Jesus Christ, with people who do not know him as their savior.

God is literally bringing people to us, to share the gospel with.  We no longer have to travel abroad to be missionaries…we simply must walk out our door, we simply must go to work, we simply must turn on the computer and there is opportunity to share the good news.

Often times when the world sees tragedy, fear, doom and gloom, we should be seeing opportunity…
Because when the rest of the world sees these things they have placed their hope in themselves, or in a govt. or in money, jobs, things or whatever.  So then, let’s be different and put our hope in Jesus and not be worried, don’t be scared, and instead be full of hope and love.

By the way…
Some of the most successful people in the world are people who instead of seeing challenges before them and let it scare them to the point of giving up, instead they saw those challenges as opportunity to learn or to grow or to tweak their business into something really successful.

So the resolution that I challenge you to take this year is to not be like the rest of the world and instead to stand up and stand out for Jesus.

Are you ready to stand up and stand out for Jesus?

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