Thursday, December 9, 2010

No More Excuses

Last week's article was about being different.  I strive to be different.  Not necessarily in the way I dress (although that matters too), but instead in the way I shape my actions and words.  I know I'm an example of Christ.  You may strive to be different as well.

The biggest obstacle to being different is apathy.  I'll give you the definition of apathy, just in case you aren't familiar with the term.

apathy ap-a-thy (āp'ə-thē) n. Lack of interest, concern, or emotion; indifference.

The chaos of life is difficult to overcome.  Believe me, as an honor student finishing my final year of high school, I get that.  Some days, I'm so exhausted that I simply want to fall into bed and sleep for three months straight.  When you're busy, apathy hits hard because you can easily become exhausted.  When you're lazy, it hits even harder.

When you're feeling apathetic, it's easy to think, "Yes, I believe in God.  Yes, I'm different.  Yes, I abstain from what the 'bad kids' do.  Yadayadayada... but today, I don't feel like being different.  I'm not changing the world.  I'm just a kid.  What does being different even matter?  I just want to blend in with the crowd today.  I just want to be normal."  Sound familiar?

"It's true!" you might be ready to shout at me from the safety of your computer screen.  "What does it matter if I don't do anything important today?  What does being different even do?  My life is hard right now, okay?  Why should I even care about this stuff?"

I get it.  I promise you.  It's hard to stand up for what you believe in, and it's hard to stand out from the crowd, especially when you're feeling weary.  Especially when apathy is beginning to set in.  It's tough.  When it comes to apathy, I easily fall.  I am shy, timid, and often filled with doubts.  It's hard to stay strong.  But it's possible.

Why does it matter?  There are two big reasons why you should strive to be a city on a hill that come to my mind.  Because God called you to be different and because there are people watching.  It's as simple and as difficult as that.

God has called us to stand out from the crowd and be different for Him.  One of my favorite verses is Matthew 5:14"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden."  As a Christian teen, you are a city on a hill, meaning that you are an example to everyone around you.  If you're an outspoken Christian, then when people see the things you do, they think, "He's doing that because he's a Christian."  If you screw up and make a fool out of yourself, many will blame it on God or on Christians in general, and not only on you.

As soon as you make a confession for Christ, you're putting a burden on your shoulders.  With your words and your actions, you're showing people the words and opinions of Jesus Christ, whether you mean to or not.

According to God's Word, you're not of the world.  Your focus should not be the focus of other kids.  Miley Cyrus's latest scandal shouldn't be the first thing that comes out of your mouth.  When you log on the internet, why do you need to be watching YouTube music videos where women flaunt their skimpy clothing while dancing provocatively?  You're not a part of that world.  You're a part of God's kingdom.

A famous verse you've probably seen around before is Romans 12:2"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will."  If that isn't clear, I don't know what is.  Many Christians read that part of the verse and take it to heart, but they leave out Romans 12:1, the verse that comes right before.  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship."  Not conforming to the world isn't merely avoiding drugs and sex.  It isn't merely knowing the cool Bible verses and wearing the clever Christian t-shirts.  It's not knowing the words to the worship songs you sing at church.  No, not conforming involves giving the entirety of your life for the purpose of following Jesus Christ, the One who died for you.

You were made to be a city on a hill and a living sacrifice for the purpose of leading others to the Lord.  That means that no matter how exhausted and weary and sick of religion you are today, as a living sacrifice, you were meant to be stretched beyond your limits.  You are a cup meant to be filled to the point of overflowing.  You were meant to go beyond the constraints of religion and into the realm of true faith.

Apathy is a difficult thing to overcome, yes, but God has called you to make that effort.  It's time to stand up for Him now.  Are you in?