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“Not A Mountain Top Experience!” 1 Peter 1:13-25 Key verse(s): 15-16:“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

Blending in! Some of us prefer blending in to sticking out in a crowd. Then again there are others who are quite comfortable being noticed above the rest. I suppose there is a place for everyone in that respect. If everyone tried to blend we would have mass chaos, no one willing to make a decision or take a stand. On the other hand, if we were all “stick-outs” the chaos would be no different. Everyone trying to make a decision; everyone leading but nobody following. Either way it seems there needs to be a balance.

The Bible tells us to stand up for our faith, to make a witness to the truth. God is expecting us to demonstrate to others what it means to holy in how we speak, act and live our lives. Since to be made holy means to be set apart, consecrated or dedicated to a single purpose, is there any room for blending? And, for that matter, if holiness is to be an expression of living our lives like Jesus, in humble service and devotion to others, how can “sticking out” foster such humility? When you come right down to it, how can we be different, dedicated singularly to righteous living, and still be a part of this world? Defining what it means to be “different from” yet a part of things seems to hold the key to unlocking the mystery of what role God actually wants us to play in the scheme of daily living.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a real art to being different. There are, however, the obvious pretenders all around us that think they have mastered it. Yesterday as I was driving through a nearby town I was stopped by a changing traffic light. I pulled my big old Suburban up to the crosswalk lines and waited. Within moments my peripheral vision was distracted away from my usual peering at the slowly changing traffic light. What pulled up next to me was something that truly “seemed” different. It was a little VW Rabbit completely plastered with bumper stickers. The entire car was covered with them. There were team loyalty stickers, political statements, references to places that had been visited, closed and driven through. There was no order to the plastering; just a conscious effort to paste one wherever there was room to do so. It was obvious that the driver wanted to “stick-out.” There could be no other purpose behind the display than that. I stared at him for a moment and then realized something. With all of his effort to be different, it struck me how totally empty his statement was. There was no uniformity to the statement, just chaotic display of bumper stickers on wheels. When he drove away I was left with nothing to think about or dwell on. He stuck out all...

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