Focal Passage: Hebrews 13:1-8
I recently had the opportunity to speak to our students at a weekend student retreat. One of the things I have noticed while being around teenagers is that most have a desire not to stand out. You may have the occasional one that will cut up and act in a way that draws attention to himself. But, on the whole, one of teenagers’ greatest fears is to be put on the spot, to stand out and to look different. The reality is, many adults are the same way.
The problem with this mentality for Christians is that God desires for our lives to do just that: to stand out. We are to live to a higher standard, not because we are better than anyone else but because our lives have been transformed. The resurrected Christ is the one who the writer of Hebrews has said is the better High Priest who offered His own life as the better sacrifice for sin. Those realities, by definition, make our lives different. If we fail to live in a way that is different from those around us, our lives fail to give testimony to the life-changing power of the gospel.
Because Christ has transformed us, we are to gather with believers to “exhort one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). We are not to seek to live distinctive lives in our own strength, but by faith in God – the kind of faith seen in the “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us (Hebrews 12:1). In fact, we should live in such a way that other believers around us can see an example of what it means to live a transformed life of faith.
This life will be different in every aspect, as the writer of Hebrews points out in today’s passage – in brotherly love, in hospitality, in marriage, in contentment with God’s provision, etc. In the midst of a culture that’s moving farther and farther from God’s design, our lives are to stand out. If we are truly living out our faith in Christ, our lives will look different – showing we live as part of a different kingdom, under the reign of a different king. Living in this way enables us to be the “salt” and “light” God has called us to be.