A Christian brother in Oregon once told me that he didn’t want to spend any more time with me because my Christianity was too “intense.” I thought that was peculiar because for me it just a natural thing to bring God into a conversation and move toward talking about Jesus and what he’s doing in my life. But for some, I guess that can be hard to handle.
I never did see much of that brother after that conversation. He died recently and I wonder now what he thinks about being spiritually intense (think intentional, daily, hungry for more, a real and personal peace with God, etc.).
Speaking of peculiar, as pastor’s kids we used to joke a lot about how the King James version describes Christians as a “peculiar people”:
1 Peter 2:9 KJV
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:
More modern translations help us to understand how incredibly unique our position is among the peoples of earth. They enlarge on that peculiarity with words like these, “a people of God’s own possession.”
Wow! His very own? That IS strange in this day when the prevailing wind is to proclaim our individuality and claim a sovereign right over our identity!
Peter explains that we are God’s very own possession because of Mercy.
Once we were without mercy and destined for eternity in hell. But now because of Christ, and our position in him we have the fullness of God’s mercy and love given to us. We can surely hope in an eternity of peace and blessing because of his mercy toward us. And Peter also declares without hesitation that this enables us to fulfill our highest purpose as human beings: to reflect the excellencies of God to the visible and invisible world around us.
As Julia would often say, “yeah, I’m weird. Isn’t it great to be weird!” She knew it was okay to go against the crowd and social proof, if it was because of Jesus and embracing who he wanted her to be.
How incredibly special it is to be created in such a way that God calls us his very own. There is no better place to be, even if the whole world is against us.
A.W. Tozer once described our peculiarity in these words:
A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge.A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous
So join me in standing out from the crowd for the right reason: because we’ve been given the fullness of God’s mercy in Christ and have a higher calling than simply surviving the best we can in this time and space. How blessed to be chosen of God and his very own.
His very own, his very own, wonderful grace in his word is made known: chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son, sealed by the Spirit. I’m his very own!Old Gospel Chorus
As I go on my way today I don’t expect to be acceptable in the world’s eyes. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I will go out of my way to be an offense. In fact in Peter’s writings we have some of the strongest instruction in the Bible about being a blessing to those around us. And loving others as Jesus so completely and sacrificially loved us, including our enemies, can seem very strange in a world bent on selfishly getting our own way and getting our own due and being our own person.
Refuse to be average. Let your soul soar as high as it will.AW Tozer