85. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 1)

I saw a video this morning and had to share. Before reading this Article, please take a look at it on YouTube under the name: ‘Brain Games – Conformity Waiting Room‘ or ‘Social Conformity-Brain Games’ or just simply click on the video which I have attached below.

Did you look at it? Did you find it to be hilarious?

Sadly, this is society. Very rarely do people think for themselves or question the status quo. Doing something because everybody’s doing it is not good. We were given brains to think for ourselves, to question things and to REFUSE to conform to foolishness. That is why knowing who you are, what you stand for (no pun intended) and who you represent are so important.

Children of the KING were built to challenge the status quo, when the status quo is not in alignment with Kingdom principles.

That is what it means to be the LIGHT of the world. We are to shine forth in darkness and make the difference by being different. That is why the world regards God’s children as a “…peculiar people…”

1 Peter 2:9 rightly states of us: “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.”

We DON’T conform to societal norms when societal norms are flawed. When everybody decides mindlessly to swim downstream therefore, we decide (it is always about choices), to swim upstream. This calls for courage, determination, strength of conviction, strength of character, boldness and faith in the one that holds us and keeps us and who sacrificed his life for us, which is Jesus.

It is never easy and often times, we face opposition but when it comes to standing on the side of Christ which means that we must go against the world’s grain, it is ALWAYS worth it.

Life often echoes the rhetoric: “But everybody’s doing it!”

Our retort should always be: “So what? I am not everybody. I am unique and a child of the King. I will NOT be doing it. I will NOT be taking that path, simply because it is the path of least resistance. I will stand with the WORD OF GOD, for therein lies all of my instructions, as to what I am to do, how I am to live, how I am to be and how I can please my Father in heaven. My aim is not to please the world with mindless conformity but to please my Lord. In fact, my Father instructs me in 1 John 2:15-17:

  • “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

If you are a Christian, then you are called to swim against the tide of societal norms. You are called to STAND UP (again, no pun intended) for what is right and not try to fit in, so as to not appear to be odd or different. Whereas the rest of the world walks by blindly, you are supposed to walk in light because you are guided by Jesus who is THE LIGHT.

You were not called to be popular but to proclaim TRUTH and to bring God glory. If the Spirit of the living God is in you, then you are supposed to be different and to walk as if you are no longer spiritually dead but alive.

As W. C. Fields once said, “…a dead fish can float downstream but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”

Dare to be different. Dare to challenge the status quo.

To give an example, I was once in a new working environment where gossip, drama, abuse, oppression, conflict and contention were the order of the day. Employees, senior members and management alike, all seemed to enjoy it and thrived on this nonsense as if it was the main business of the day. When I started there, I was shocked. I had never experienced a workplace like it although I had worked at a number of places before. Particularly, I could not understand how senior persons who were supposed to know better and had even worked at other places where this level of dysfunction was not the norm, could not just accept it but participate in the mayhem and dysfunction.

I then remembered the Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that says, Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” and I thought to myself, that was why! These people may have initially been different but they obviously eventually succumbed to the pressure of the culture around them and started acting in the same way as everybody else. They may have opposed the evil in the beginning but slowly and surely, they decided that it was easier to conform to the status quo, than to stand out, like a sore thumb. They therefore ceased questioning whether the culture in this workplace was right and just began doing what everybody else was doing, to the point where they too became trapped in the enjoyment of such gossip and conflict.

It was not easy but from my first week at that job, I decided that I was NOT going to conform, come what may. The devil did try to embroil me in stuff but GREATER is the Lord that was in me, than he that was in the world.

1 John 4:4 states: “ Ye are of God, little children, and have OVERCOME them: because GREATER is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Eventually, I was so sorely provoked from being in that evil, wicked, godless environment (although I know that God sent me in there to be a light for at least a period of time), that I began to pray that God would deliver me from it but in his own timing and that in the meanwhile, that he would use me to make a difference.

I believe he did just that. Since then, he brought me out (thankfully) but I appeared odd to these people and they could not understand why I refused to break under the pressure. I was certainly feeling the weight of it and cried privately at home but God kept me and I survived through it. It was unlike any environment I had ever worked at before and was so dark, so evil and so diabolical, that it was downright scary. My words here don’t begin to do the experience justice.

While working there, I decided to carry some Christian tracts with me to the office and to keep them for when the gossipers came each day and approached me, trying to make trouble. I decided that when they came intent on making mischief, to tell me about this one or that one or to find out my opinion on something to go back and say what I had said, that this was a sure sign that they needed Jesus. I therefore gave them one of the tracts, which they totally did not expect. I also told them that I was prepared to speak with them on the material at a later time if they so desired.

When I did that, I noticed that one particular lady stopped coming as she used to do each morning, to try to get information out of me to use against me.

I also used every possible opportunity to speak JESUS to those around me, including the staff of about five (5) persons that I was responsible for supervising, my Supervisor and other employees in other Departments.

The way I saw it, sometimes God could send you into a very dark place for the sake of one or two souls who may be part of his elect and you are to be prepared to go and fulfill your mission.

While at that place, I spoke kindly to the Cleaner and the Messenger and those who were considered as the outcasts because of their low standing in life and I prayed for them. One of them confided in me that he had a brother that was sick and I prayed for him and kept enquiring as to how he was doing as the days progressed. He was probably shocked, since most people at that workplace had demonstrated consistently that they had no time to show him any kind of real attention it seemed but I cared because God loved him.

Soon after I had started the job, one employee told me that all of my predecessors who had occupied the particular contractual post in which I was serving, had been so stressed by the pressure in that place, that when they left, they left a little crazy. I told him that I would be the exception because I was a highly favoured and blessed child of God.

Those were not just words. I was. My response was unexpected and stopped him in his tracks, him acknowledging, if I recall correctly, that he had realized that I was…different.

Another employee saw it fit to let me know early on in my tenure, that I had inherited the staff from hell and that the place I was in was a rat race but I replied that I could not participate in that race because I wasn’t born a rat but a human being. I told him therefore, that I was not eligible to even begin.

Yet another employee (and a senior one at that), in trying to explain the dysfunctional, contentious, abusive, gossiping culture at that workplace, told me that it was a game. I told him well I REFUSE to play.

Needless to say, nearing the end of my tenure, one lady informed me that when she saw me arrive to assume duty for the position (I was hired and assigned by a governmental office to assume duty at that subsidiary location), she told the Chief Executive Officer (my supervisor), that this one looked like a no-nonsense person. Others had served in the post before and maybe people had driven them beserk with provocation but she sensed that I was…different.

That was an interesting way to put it but yes, a stickler for integrity and for doing what was right, not afraid to address issues on paper, call a spade, a spade and stand against the status quo despite pressure and attacks from high places, at the end of my tenure, I was provoked sore yes but I think the entire workplace came to the realization that yes, I was a no-nonsense person and would stand on the side of right, no matter what. I could not be made to do what even my supervisor and other people in high office wanted me to do, if it went against the Word of God. They found me to be stubborn, defiant, rebellious but I was stubborn FOR A CAUSE.

Of course this angered people, one man in very high office telling me at one point, that I was making his life a living hell. Not surprisingly, I faced an onslaught of attacks, insults and these people tried their very best to break me but yet God was doing something beautiful through all of it. He was using me to promote Jesus by being different. I was there to remind those that had forgotten, that what now seemed to be the norm in that place was not, that not everybody would just bow down to their wishes when the wishes were wrong but that some would dare to set their face like a flint and stand up for what was right.

Dear Christian reader, remain respectful but do NOT compromise. DARE to shake things up and break through dysfunctional godless cultures. DARE to please God through utter defiance of world systems.

Shedrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did it. They purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with an earthly king’s meat and they refused to bow down to an idol, even after a law had been passed to that effect.

Moses did it. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. He CHOSE rather, to suffer affliction with God’s people because it was with God’s people that he identified. He may have been called the son of the daughter of an earthly king but in his heart he KNEW that he was already a bona fide son of the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, the one who created all the world and the people in it and who was ALL powerful. He knew, that it was to this HEAVENLY KING that he owed his allegiance and nobody else.

I share the same philosophy, so much so, that to avoid compromising and conforming to the world’s godless practices, in the face of endless pressure, when I had to make a choice, I chose to walk away from jobs and even very lucrative job opportunities.

From time immemorial, people have made the choice to take a STAND for what is right. Why wouldn’t you?

You can’t make a difference if you resemble the ones you are trying to impact. We are not supposed to take our cues from the world. The world is supposed to look to us for leadership because WE carry the light of Jesus Christ.

I think it is downright insulting to God, when Christians copy the world’s music, dress and way of thinking…and for what? To be successful? To be popular? To be trendy? To fit in?

Rubbish!

We can’t use the devil’s standards to please God. If we look to God and wait on him, he will give us all the ideas and innovation we need to succeed in this life and to bring him glory.

Romans 12:2 states to Christians: “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.

(Commenced on 14th August, 2016, added to after June 2018 and thereafter)

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