The coined term, O.P., always has a negative connotation. You don’t fit in. You can’t get along. You’re not comfortable with your surroundings. In society, if you’re the odd one out, you’re the weird one.
But in God’s eyes, you’re probably the right one.
When I realized that God had chosen me and it became a daily decision to follow Him, I went through a season of pruning (still am, actually). Pruning basically means God is taking things out of your life that honestly don’t need to be there so you can follow Him without hindrance.
He took away bad habits, vices, and worldly ways of thinking. He gave me good habits, healthy desires, and a new mindset. For a time, I didn’t want to leave the wing He put me under. I was enjoying it so much there, feeling sheltered and precious, His little daughter all tucked in tight.
But I had to get out. I had to say get up Jules, God has a purpose for you. And you may not like the world very much, but you MUST love it. You have to go out there and love on people and share the gospel. In the first few months of my walk, God was so patient every time I said, “Lord no please, just one more month, I don’t want to face people, I want to stay at home and read the Bible and write songs. I don’t want the world to hurt me anymore.” (I can work from home.)
Of course, He had given me Christian friends and events to go to and we need these, oh do we need these. But sometimes, we are going to go places that will test our faith the most and make us feel very uncomfortable.
My first few encounters would be with friends I truly loved. But they still wanted to talk about the same things, in other words, other people. Bing! My messenger would go and oh no, I didn’t want to participate in gossip, but how do I not talk to this person? My head would be flashing like a red alarm, “That’s wrong,” at comments they’d make in personal conversation with others, and I couldn’t budge. It would be cursing, which would be nails-on-a-chalkboard for me. It would be a hateful statement about another person, and my mind would go, “You should forgive her.”
Mind you, I do NOT think to become a Christian makes you better than anyone else, NO.
But it sure does give you A LOT of conviction. Which in turn, when dealing with non-believers or those who don’t really follow Christ, makes you feel out of place. The thing is, you SHOULD feel out of place in society.
ARE YOUR CONVICTIONS BIBLE-BASED?
I ask myself, why do I feel convicted? I know it’s because what’s happening right now around me is SO not of God. Okay. Then I ask myself, is it my mind or my heart?
When you become sensitive to the Spirit, the first part of you that is addressed is your heart. When you know in your heart something is wrong, most likely, IT IS. But sometimes what happens is, you use your mind (knowledge) of the Word too much, that you become really judgy and preachy, and no one likes that. Nah.
When your mind AND your heart are set on God, the Word will allow you to observe, not judge others, act accordingly, respond with wisdom, and get you out of there unscathed.
Furthermore, search in the Bible where it says what the right thing to do is. I truly believe this is where the fruits of the Holy Spirit, like PATIENCE and SELF-CONTROL, grow beautifully. But as much as possible, try to avoid compromising situations. We can’t help that at school, or at work, or at a special occasion, we’re going to be faced with lies and temptations from the enemy. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will provide a way of escape. My advice? TAKE IT. Don’t engage in gossip or their activities. They start calling you holier than thou, well, huh. I don’t think Jesus broke a sweat telling the truth.
CONVICTIONS VS. GUILT
“Oh come on, Jules, you’re so confrontational!” The truth is, yeah. I could tell a person to their face if I didn’t like them. And the enemy likes to use this on me. It’s called condemnation or guilt.
My past tries to catch up to me and when I’m so firm in God, I love to watch it trip over a rock before it even reaches me. Sometimes though, sometimes, I remember who I was. I remember how much I used to drink, how badly I thought of someone, and I cringe. How could I call myself a Christian, I was worse than everyone around me.
God’s grace covers and changes everything. And if you believe in Him, you MUST believe that you are forgiven. That even when lies (and they come from the mouths of even those close to you) say, “You were like that before”, “You used to do the same thing too”, YOU KNOW that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THE WORLD
I broke up with the world, hard. I was lost and blind and numb. And guess what, the world is still rotating around and around lost and blind and numb. People think they know, but they don’t. People think right moral character and action is to each his own belief, it isn’t.
The world has grown farther and farther away from God, and as a Christian, it’s tough but I gotta keep swimming upstream against the current. If they pass the bottle, I’ll pass it right back. If we’re going to talk about someone, we should be praying for them, understanding them, and helping them. And in no way, should we ever think we’re better.
But we do know the truth. We know right from wrong, and the Holy Spirit convicts us of these. If we slip up, miss the mark, we ask for forgiveness from God and from others; we’re not perfect either. But we DO NOT have to feel bad if we don’t feel good about the world. If you’ve given your life to Christ, you’re different. You’re set apart.
You are so out of place that you’re the coolest person in the crowd because you are obeying God.
So I leave you with this passage:
John 15: 18-25 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.'”