Summary: Loving with action and not just words can and will build fellowship with other people as well as with God.
All human beings like to feel as though they belong or fit in with others. Being different can be difficult and we may even find ourselves exiled or outcast from the group we thought we associated with so easily. The world around us today is all about going with the flow. Actually, it pushes more for everyone to go “against” the flow so that they can become “their own individual” self. The problem soon becomes obvious; now everyone is trying to become individualized. The flow has now begun to flow in that direction. Different can actually be difficult but it may be for the best. Look at the world’s state right now; murder, rape, random acts of violence are all at super high numbers right now. Problems abound all around us. Sex, drugs, and violence now sell movies instead of quality and values. Promiscuous sex is seen as a valid source of entertainment and pleasure. Cheating, lying, and drinking are ok as long as you don’t get busted. Sometimes different can be a good thing.
Sometimes we wish life was different. In the movie Secondhand Lions, two old men who had once led incredibly adventurous lives decide to plant a garden. One of the gentlemen buys some seeds from a traveling salesman. He buys corn, beets, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and the two men and the boy staying with them plant these in rows. Each row is labeled with the different type of plant. Soon they began to sprout and as they inspected the garden they noticed something; all the leaves look very similar. The salesman had ripped them off; all the plants were corn. They had like fifty stalks of corn and so they ate corn, corn, and more corn. They wished by then that they had something a little different.
We continue today through the book of First John by moving through verses thirteen through 24 of chapter three. The preceding verses in chapter three told us about living consistently as Christians. The verses we are focusing on today tell us what that consistency should look like; how we should live consistently. Look at verses 13 through 15. “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Why would the world hate you? If you truly go against the flow, then yes you will not be liked. If you have convictions about morality and the necessity of morals, I can guarantee that you will not be liked too well in the world we live in. We have moved from being spiritually dead to alive. We are in a whole new realm. We should be different than the world. The world may hate but we must not hate in the church. We are called to be consistently different. If we want to live with Christ, we must be like Him and to be like Him we must be different than the world. Christians live differently because 1) we have better example to follow, 2) We have a better way to love, and 3) We have the assurance of an all loving God. Let’s take a quick look at each reason we can live differently than the world around us.