Conformity kills creativity and identity. Some enjoy standing out whereas most people don’t want to stand out of the crowd. When we blend in with the majority there is a sense of security because generally where there is the greater number than there is a higher probability of you being safe. It is when we begin to look, act, and see the world differently from the masses that the uncomfortable reality of being different can set in.
The ironic thing about acceptance through conformity is that you actually gave up your identity for a false image of acceptance because when you had to conform to be accepted, what the underlying message was that you in of yourself are not good enough and that they will only accept you until you act like them, think like them, talk like them, and walk like them.
The counter argument to this is then why should we conform to Christ if we lose our identity in the process? The answer is that God is our creator and Christ receives you just as you are but He also reveals to you who you truly are. Friends, the life you live apart from Christ is not who you truly are but is a broken image of what God created from the beginning and now is restored in Christ.
We live in a world where as of right now the ones being restored to true identity and true acceptance in Christ is the minority and when we choose to live set apart, we will experience the vulnerability of losing our security in the world but in the process gain the comfort of the Holy Spirit. For a time being you may experience that at times overwhelming feeling of loneliness or awkwardness but in the end realize that you paid the price of pain to gain the glory that is found in a relationship with God.
In Jeremiah’s complaints, he is experiencing what I call the “Holy lonely” moment of being set apart for God and here are some things we can learn:
TRUE HOLINESS WILL ATTRACT HATE
(V.10) Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me
Don’t surprised when you have haters when you pursue Jesus because a temptation of the majority is to squash the minority to continue to keep the “peace.” This is not the case always but is pretty frequent in every area of life because people naturally don’t want to give up their positions of power, security, and influence. If we find that people don’t question our lifestyle or have strong opinions of it EVER, then we have to pause and ask ourselves a real hard question, “Am I living for Christ or have I conformed to the world?”
THE MINISTRY OF HOLINESS IS A MINISTRY OF GRACE
(V.11) The LORD said, “Have I not set you free for their good? Have I not pleaded for you before the enemy in the time of trouble and in the time of distress?”
God is reminding Jeremiah in the midst of the persecution that He has been Jeremiah’s defender. Yet what is interesting here is that the LORD set Jeremiah free for the benefit of the people! A prophet or a person of faith may get hate but the ministry is for the sake of the people. God sends His people to troubled areas or people because that is where the light is needed the most. A doctor is useless if he is sent to people that do not need medical attention and it is the same way with the believer because where there is brokenness and sickness of sin the more the presence of God is needed through His people. As Jeremiah living set apart for God was to be the blessing and light for the people, He may be using you in the same fashion!
HOLINESS CAN LEAD TO LONELINESS
(V.17)I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.
There will be moments and seasons where it may seem like you are the only one that seeks after God and it will be overwhelming. Two encouragements I have for moments like these is that you are truly not alone for God is with you but that wherever there is a perception of being the only one, there is usually other people who have the same view as you but that you have not linked up with these like minded people! They too seek God but they too feel like they are the only one and in the moments of loneliness we have to go seeking the people who we can resonate with because THERE IS ALWAYS people who feel the same way! It’s like every classroom in America where the teacher asks if anyone has a question but no one raises their hand but the truth is that more than half the students do have questions and most likely the same question. It is only when one person bold enough to break through and seek the truth can the solutions be revealed to all.
HOLINESS CAN LEAD TO DOUBT
(V.18)Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail?
When you follow God long enough and you let your faith stretch you then you will come across doubt. This does not mean that you lack faith or that you are an immature Christian. Moments of doubt are actually the points in the journey that offer a deeper revelation of who God is and who you can be if you choose to stay the course; moments of doubts are actually faith building moments.
These doubtful moments reveal to us that the faith that got us to this point will no longer be enough for the road ahead and therefore our old methods must evolve for us to push forward. It does not mean that you went back in fatih but that you will need to go to the next level of your faith for the next season.
CONSISTENCY LEADS TO UPGRADES
(V.19-21) Therefore thus says the Lord:“If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. 20 And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord. 21 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”
We will hit doubt, but when we choose to keep being faithful to God by seeking His will then the upgrade that is needed will be provided. God said unto Jeremiah that he will stand before the accusers as God fuels him. They will come but God will keep him standing for those who stand for the LORD will stand before men. It’s pretty simple in that we must choose to still live set apart and choose to live like Christ, and choose to stand for him as the light of the world.
Today if you feel the holy lonely then pray and ask the LORD to reveal the people that burn for Him just as you do so that you can set the world ablaze in love and glory