I'm Different

A translation of "Fred's Epistle to the Ukrainians."

"The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you...you will be changed into a different person" (1 Samuel 10:6 NLT)

I don't believe I shall ever forget the young man who came from Teen Challenge to our camp meeting in Michigan to testify about what the Lord did for him. He was a former drug addict. He knew he was forgiven, was delivered of his addiction, and there was a remarkable change in his life. Although he was saved, on occasions he was still attacked by demonic suggestions to do drugs again. But he said, "Later, the Lord filled me with the Holy Spirit -- and gave me a new mind, -- a new mind!" With tears flowing down his cheeks, he repeatedly shouted, "He gave me a new mind!" When the Holy Spirit took full control, the young man truly became a new person, completely changed.

The Prophet Samuel told young Saul,

"The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you with power...you will be changed into a different person" (1 Sam.10:6 NLT). And he was. Paul told Christians in Rome, "Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). What is this "newness of life?" It is different from the pattern the world sets for itself. How is that? John tells us, "The world offers only the lust for the physical pleasure...for everything we see, and pride in our possessions" (1 Jn. 2:15,16 NLT). These sensual impulses and materialistic drives are basic to the world's purpose for living.

The worldly life leads to disaster.

Jesus told His followers, "You are not of the world" (Jn.15:19). To His Father He said, "They are not part of this world" (Jn.17:16 NLT). There is an important difference between a born again Christian and an unsaved person, and it is more than just philosophical or organizational. The difference is seen in the spirit of the person, the character, behavior, speech, choices and goals the individual makes. Paul declared, "For me living is for Christ" (Phil. 1:21 NLT). The worldly person lives mostly for his personal gratification, but the one who is truly born again of God's Spirit is entirely devoted to Jesus Christ.

Paul describes water baptism as our identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Rom.6:2-8). So, -- if we "died" with Christ to sin, and we "buried" our past with Him, then we have "risen" with Him in newness of life as a "new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17). Now, no longer the old sinful, lustful, carnal way of the past; instead, it is a new existence patterned after Christ. "We are of God" and no longer identified with the world that "lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19).

To be a real Christian there must be a marked difference

Between us and the world. Jesus described His true followers as "Light" and "Salt," and portrays them as "a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid" (Mt.5:13,14). The world must see and recognize the difference.

The popular phrase "Everybody is doing it" is not a slogan for true believers, and must never be used as an excuse to follow the world's pattern. Jesus warned that more would follow the "broad way" that leads to destruction, than those who would choose the "narrow way" leading to everlasting life (Mt.7:13,14).

The follower of Jesus Christ is challenged to remember who he is. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing" (2 Cor. 6:17). "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord" (Isa 52:11).

Claiming to be one with Christ places a responsibility on us.

John teaches: "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ lived" (I Jn.2:6 NLT). The Holy Spirit brought about a cleansing and a new direction in our lives, and now must be allowed to continue His good work. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil.1:6). However, it is required of us, that "We should walk in newness of life." This demands effort on our part to protect this "newness of life," "Working out your own salvation with fear and trembling(Phil. 2:12). This calls for our refusal to pattern after this world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 Jn.2:15).

Our new life in Christ should produce new fruit.

Completely different from the past. Previously, we produced the fruit of sin; it made us miserable and kept us from the kingdom of heaven (Gal. 5:19-21). But now, the Spirit of God in us produces "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal.5:22,23). This "fruit" is actually descriptive of the character of Jesus. It would be wise to check whether these spiritual characteristics are seen in us.

It is this kind of Spirit filled life, that Jesus said, is like "a city set on a hill that cannot be hid." It can't help but be observed, and favorably attract the unsaved. When they see the difference, only then can we truly be called effective witnesses for Christ. Can we honestly say, "I'm different?" If not, why not?