Stop trying to fit in because we don't. Stop trying to be accepted because we aren't. Stop trying to water down Jesus because you will lose everything if you do. We are definitely getting something wrong in this age in which we live and testify. One thing is when we try to make Christianity attractive and popular. Oh how we wish that the world would run after the righteousness of God but it is lost in its rebellion and self-centered perspective. So when we present Jesus in his great power and love, people rise up against him because he threatens that perspective.
We are different and we were designed to be different. In this world we stand out from the crowd because of Jesus in us. Because we follow him, obey him, run after him, walk in his steps, and are empowered to live as he lived, we look, act, speak, respond, think, see, love differently than the crowd without Jesus. It is the reason you stand out in your school, work place, perhaps even your home.
When we lower the Church or ourselves so that we are more attractive to the world it means we are being less of Jesus. When we try to attract the world with similar activities, music, movies, speeches, teachings, we are not serving Jesus but ourselves. When you join in bad mouthing someone to fit in, when you turn your eyes away from the cheating, when you laugh at that terrible joke, we are setting Jesus aside to fit in with our environment. That is not why Jesus left us here. He is not concerned about you fitting in and being accepted; he is concerned about those who are lost without him. You represent him here.
Look at what Paul wrote to Timothy:
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life. (2 Timothy 1:8-9)
The "so" follows Paul reminding Timothy he was not given the spirit of timidity but of power. We have been given the power, strength and desire to live a life to the glory of Jesus in this place. And yes, it will cause suffering. You will suffer for being different. You might not have all the friends you potentially could have. You might be picked on because you stand out. People may talk about you behind your back. You might get bullied and picked on. You might get beat up. This is what it is to follow Jesus, the one who was ridiculed, rejected and crucified.
Don't be ashamed to testify about Jesus, it is why you are here. If that is your purpose and you fail to live it, you may be filled with sorrow on Jesus' return instead of joy. Paul actually invited Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel. We have a message to share to a world that is lost in its selfishness and sin. It is great news that will save anyone who accepts. It is for the "whoever believes". It is all we should be thinking about every day: bringing the good news to our part of the world. By the power of God you will be preserved and empowered to complete the task he has given you, no matter the cost. Trust him and be willing to lay your life down in service to the King. That day is quickly approaching. Will you be willing to die as so many others before us have, in presenting Jesus to those who desperately need him?
Don't be ashamed. Stand out. Be willing to be different. Allow the world to see Jesus through you even if it hates you for it. Shine today my friend. Shine for Jesus' glory and the salvation of your part of the world.