I have been listening to different teachings this week and asking myself the question, “what does it mean to be ‘set apart?’’
This has always been a struggle for the people of God. Everyone wants to “fit in.” Everyone wants to “be liked.” Everyone wants to “be a part of the crowd.”
When the Word of God tells us to be “set apart,” what does that mean? How do we do that? What does it take to “be different?” Does “set apart” mean to “be different?”
Let’s look at some verses that use these words. Let’s use the Word of God to see if we can gain a better understanding about what He expects of us.
because you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you to be his own unique treasure out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. (CJB)
Understand that Adonai sets apart the godly person for himself; Adonai will hear when I call to him. (CJB)
I Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, the King’s cohanim, a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (CJB)
In Deuteronomy the Children of Israel were told that they were “set apart as holy.” Adonai CHOSE them to be His unique treasure. They were called to be different than all other peoples on the earth.
The Children of Israel were given the Ten Commandments. They were told not to worship other gods. They were told to keep the Sabbath Holy. They were given days that were to be set apart and holy. All of these commands “set them apart” from other nations and people groups.
In Romans 11 the Gentiles are told they are grafted in. When anyone who is not Jewish chooses to follow Jesus, they become part of this community that is “set apart.”
I Peter continued this thought. The book was written by Peter to “God’s chosen people living as aliens in the diaspora.” He wrote this to Jewish followers of Jesus. He was reminding them that they needed to understand WHO they are as God’s people. Peter made it clear that they needed to remember they were called out of darkness and declare praises because they now saw the Light.
I have a feeling that many of the communities of faith struggled with knowing how to be “set apart.” It is why Paul wrote so many letters to different communities. He knew that each one faced their own situations that caused them to stumble at times. It caused them to blend into the people groups around them, instead of being known as a chosen people. Paul wrote to them to remind them that they were supposed to be unique.
The verse in Psalm is directed toward an individual. Adonai “sets apart” a godly person for Himself. Adonai is willing to hear a godly person when he calls. David knew, being part of the chosen people, that when he would call on God, Adonai would answer.
So how should being “set apart” effect us today? Do we BELIEVE we are set apart?
Too often we just walk next to those around us and “go with the flow.” We are not willing to say, “I’m sorry, but I am not able to participate in that.”
In our communities of faith today, how do we differ from other organizations and groups? Do we have something unique to offer those who choose to spend time with us? Do we really act like we are a “chosen people” who have been called to be LIGHT? What makes us stand out?
There are many communities of faith, and people, today that are beginning to blend in to their surroundings. They are choosing to become more like the world with thoughts and actions. Instead of choosing to walk in the fruits of the Spirit, they respond with the same anger and frustrations their peers do. The outward is not reflecting a person that has been “set apart.”
I wrote about peace last week. I truly believe that a way we can, and should, be different is by carrying PEACE and JOY. IF we BELIEVE that Jesus is Who He said He was, the Son of God, and we are following HIS teachings, than we should have a PEACE that people gravitate to. We should have a JOY that draws people into the LIGHT.
We need to stop trying to have peace around us, and carry HIS peace within us. We need to stop expecting people around us to bring us joy, and be HIS joy to those we meet.
It is ALL about what is INSIDE. Remember, God looks at the HEART. God knows ALL that happens in our minds.
When we are truly “set apart,” we will carry those traits inside of us, and then they will flow to those around us.
When we come to the realization that to be “set apart” is to be a LIGHT to those around us, than we can find REST in Him. We will RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.
Love and blessings,