At one time Christians knew that they were different, set aside from the world, in it but not of it. We understood that our citizenship belonged elsewhere and our character came from God, not society. We understood that we answered to a law far greater, deeper and older than any of society's laws. We understood that the standards of the the Kingdom far exceeded any standards in this world and that we did not measure ourselves against anything here but instead our standard of measure is Jesus Christ. We once understood these things but I am not all that sure we do today.
As I look at Abraham and study his life, I discover a man of great contrast, a man who understood his place in the world and his place in God. Obviously Abraham was a diamond in the rough with a number of character flaws that God was working out but we would do well to consider his attitude in living.
When Abraham walked among men he walked as a prince. As he grew and matured Abraham realized that the blessing of the Lord was on him and he had nothing to fear. This is a great change from the man who used to tell people his wife was his sitter because he was afraid that they would kill him to take her. He ended up to by the type of man who wouldn't allow anyone to take from him what God had given. Consider how fearlessly he went out against the allied kings to rescue his nephew Lot. Abraham knew he was a prince in this world.
Yet, when it came to God Abraham quickly changed his mindset and saw himself as a servant. When the three angels came to visit him Abraham dropped everything he was doing to wait on them. He quickly had the best of his food prepared and he humbled himself before the visitors. He knew everything he had came from the hand of God and he was only too happy to become a servant when addressing God, speaking to these angels with great respect.
I'm not really sure that we see the things of the Kingdom as being holy any more. I am not sure that our attitude toward God is one of great respect and admiration. I know we worship him but I am not sure we treat his commands or the things associated with him and the Kingdom with respect. I am not sure we come into his presence with any form of respect or see ourselves as his servants or consider everything we have to be from his hand. I think we treat men and women of power in this world with greater respect than we do the Creator of all things.
Now look at the respect that Abraham showed those angels. Look at how he spoke to them and treated them. Compare that with how the men of the city treated those same angels. Just look at their behaviour toward these agents of God and the fact that Lot had to try to defend them. The men of the city treated these visitors in the most foul way because they could not see nor understand the things of God. That is the way of this world, not seeing or understanding the things of Kingdom so treating as common what is holy.
This is understandable from the world but what excuse do we have? What excuse is there for living a life that is not set aside for God's purpose? What excuse exists for not seeing our life in service to the King instead of for our own selfish pursuits? If called upon to do so today, would we die for the name of Jesus? If called upon to do so today, would we sell al we possess and give it to the poor? Would we be willing to leave all that is familiar to us and move across the world just because God told us to? Or better yet, would we be willing to share the good news of God's love, mercy and grace to the neighbour we rarely talk to?
We are a people set aside for God's purpose, not belonging to the world but to the Kingdom of God. Our standards are not from this world but from God. Our priorities, goals, and purpose are far higher than anything we find in this place. We are here to wait upon the Lord, to do as he commands and to fear no man. What happens to us here does not matter as long as we are in service to the King. We do not fear anything of this world because the love of Jesus has vanquished all such fear. We are a people who do not identify ourselves by where we were born, the colour of our skins or the language we speak but instead by the blood of the Lamb. We are Christians and by every definition of that name we are different than the men and women of this world.