By Katie Logsdon
Throughout Jesus’ short life, His miraculous signs caused heads to turn and ears to perk up as He gained attention across the region. His actions of compassion demonstrated to people that He was the Messiah whom they had been waiting for (John 2:23).
Why did Jesus’ signs gain so much attention? Because He crossed boundaries no one else would cross. He loved those rejected by the larger society (prostitutes, lepers, etc.) and challenged their idea of religion (Matthew 23).
He stood out from others.
If we are to imitate Jesus, we have to dare to live a different life from others. I’m not only saying to live differently by believing in and worshipping Jesus in a nation of dry bones, but also by yielding to Him in every single decision we make.
Map out the big landmarks you imagine will take place in your life. For me, this involves getting a college degree, going to graduate school, working a 9-5 job, marrying, having children, moving to the suburbs, leading at my local church, etc. These are all seemingly great aspirations, but I have to challenge myself: Do I aspire to reach these landmarks because that’s where I discern God leading me, or rather, do I strive to follow this path because that’s what the American culture has taught me to value and want?
What if God, the God of great diversity (Psalm 66:4, Psalm 72:11), who does not ascribe to one culture, asks me in obedience to live differently? What if He asks me to give up the house with the white picket fence in the suburbs for a more uncomfortable life?
I fully believe that a woman can live in the will of God while living the typical American dream. However, when I make auto-pilot decisions outside of prayer in mold with others’ expectations or the pre-determined plan I have constructed for my life, I may miss God telling me to go another direction.
In reference to Mackenzie’s article on singleness, consider the decision to get married. Are there structures set up in our culture, especially Christian culture, that send the message that marriage is more fulfilling than singleness? Getting married is one of the biggest decisions I will ever make, but have I got on my knees in prayer to seek discernment from God in proportion to the weight of that decision? Rather, I fear that I have assumed I will get married because that’s what most of the people I know have done.
Or, consider your network of friends. Most of my friends look like and have similar backgrounds as me, which begs the question, what prejudices have kept me from befriending those different from myself? As Christians, it is crucial to the mission of God to seek unity by building bridges between people (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Following in the footsteps of your neighbors is not always misleading or detrimental to the call of God, but should always be done in prayer and obedience.