Called to be separate. You're probably wondering what I mean by that somewhat awkward turn of phrase. So let me explain.
Have you ever been in a position where you and a particular person or a group of persons were friends until something happened?
You got a degree or a certificate in something. You got a promotion at work. You got married or had a baby. You became a Christian and decided to serve God with your whole heart. Then everything changed.
The friend who you could talk to about anything is no longer available. They no longer seek your company. When you do run into them, your conversations seem to have a little bit of a chill to them. And these things hurt.
You may find yourself wondering if you were even friends with this person in the first place. But the truth is, whenever you differentiate yourself or are differentiated, people are going to look at you in a new light.
Look at the story of Korah in Numbers 16. Korah was a descendant of Kohath from the tribe of Levi. His family was responsible for handling the most holy things. That was a big deal. But Korah didn't appreciate it. He was too busy envying Aaron and his sons for the work they had been assigned as high priests.
This envy caused a division in the tribe. Maybe Aaron wondered what he had done to alienate his relative. Maybe his memories with Korah were tainted by the unprovoked attack.
As Christians, we are called to be separate. While God created us as social beings and wants us to have great friendships, we have to keep our priorities straight.
God calls us a chosen generation, a royal priesthood in I Peter 2:9. He wants us to be different. He wants us to separate ourselves from the crowd.
Have you ever seen royalty that is not in some way differentiated from the rest of the population? Isn't a priest easily identified even among the other members of his congregation?
That's because they were called to be separate. As Christians sometimes we have to step away from other people in order to do what God wants us to do.
After all, we can't serve a King if we are still rolling in the mud. At some point we have to allow ourselves to be cleaned up so that we can fully function in the role to which we are assigned.
We are a chosen generation - a people set apart. We are royalty. We are holy. We have to admit that. Accept it and step into our new identity in Christ.