Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Ordinary

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit
into it without even thinking.

Romans 12:2a

I knew a girl once who was in a friend gang and found it difficult to say “no” to anything they proposed. If you asked, “Who are you?” she would declare herself independent and free thinking, unaffected by peer pressure. But consistently her decisions were evidence to the contrary. At her core was an uncertainty about identity, consequently shape shifting to the culture was much easier--it didn’t take a lot of thought. After all, “you don’t get friends any other way!”

There’s a lot of pressure these days to be identical. The culture may tout originality but take a look around. From tattoos to handbags to expensive cars to haircuts there is more imitation and conforming than uniqueness.

Jesus followers are called to be uniquely different from the culture. That call insists that I be serious about how I will accomplish that goal. Every day I am confronted with cultural “norms” that at the outset were off center, but over time quickly became “ordinary.” Consequently, creating a distinction about what makes living the Jesus way unique, has become more and more of a challenge.

Living with a heightened awareness of one’s culture isn’t a bad practice for the Jesus follower. Daily I find myself asking questions about the impact that TV shows, magazines, advertisements or even friends have on my life, my spirit. In a culture of sameness, I pray that my life might be attractive for its originality.

Jesus, you avoided cultural traps
staying focused on Your purpose.
It was Your originality that attracted crowds.
Help me stay alert to anything
that keeps me from being an original for You.

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