A Different Life

James Shepherd

God created you to be different and He has a unique plan for your life. As a young person you might feel that to fulfill God’s plan for your life you will have to be different from almost everyone around you, and you’re right. If you want to have a good marriage, you will have to think, act, behave and believe differently from many around you, because more than half of those around you will get divorced and many more will be trapped in terrible relationships.

If you want to find a fulfilling purpose in your life that makes you get up every day excited about the possibilities, you will have to be different than your classmates who may be headed towards a dead-end job or a career that will drive their relationships towards destruction rather than adding to a life filled with faith, purpose and happiness.

If you want to have a strong, personal relationship with God, you will have to be very different from those who only seem to be close to God on Sunday. If you want to have a strong spirit that can make it when life gets tough, your faith must be stronger than your friends who can’t make it through a high school break up without having an emotional breakdown. Don’t let the Devil trick you by using society and your peers as the only “normal” life you can have. Most young people say they want to have an above average, “different” sort of life, but they don’t seem to want to think or act in a different sort of way.

So, what kind of life do you want right now? What kind of life do you want 10 or 20 years from now? Do you want an average life or a “different” life? If you want a different life, you need to start building it right now! 1 Timothy 4:12 says “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” It sounds like God plans for you to be different right now!

So, what is keeping you from living a different life? Most Christian teenagers are in a “just do it” mindset when they should start with a “just be it” mindset. They think, “I don’t ever want to go to church, but I guess I will just do it.” They tell their friends, “I don’t want to read my Bible, but my parents make me, so I guess I will just do it.” If you want to live a different kind of life, the life that God has planned, start by changing your mindset from “I will do it” to “I will be it.” The people who are making you do things now will not be making you do them when you are out of the house, so start right now developing the mindset that says, “I will be it.”

Rather than saying, “I guess I have to go to church” say, “I will be a church-going Christian who is seeking God’s will for my life.” Instead of “I have to read my Bible for Bible class” say, “I will be a person who wants to know what truth God has for me in the Bible.”  Don’t think, “I have to obey my parents otherwise I will be grounded.” Instead, think, “God wants me to obey my parents, so I am going to do my best to please Him in my relationship with mom and dad.”  God said in 1 Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” God cares about your heart; He cares about who you really are on the inside.

Walk worthy of God’s calling on your life. Romans 13:13 says, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” Some Christians will tell you that God cares so much more about your heart that you can act any way you want. That idea doesn’t come from the Bible, and it doesn’t make any sense. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 says, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” If you are reading your Bible every day at home, but you are not living it at school, God is not pleased. Sincerity doesn’t excuse behavior according to the Bible. One of my least favorite sayings is, “That’s just me, that’s just who I am.” My response to this saying is, “Change who you are and become the person God wants you to be!”

Understand that God is ready to help you as you live a life dedicated in His service. Not only do I serve God as a youth pastor on the weekends, He has called me to run a business for Him during the week. One of my habits throughout the day as I conduct business is to pray before every phone call I make. I know God wants me to run my business very differently from other businessmen, and I must have God’s help if I am going to accomplish His will for each phone call I make. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Get God involved in your day and ask Him for help. If you plan to go against the flow and live a different sort of life with God’s blessings and guidance, you cannot do it without His power and presence. Take some time throughout your day to tell God, “I want to be different, help me to do exactly what You want me to do today.”

James Shepherd
Youth Pastor
Community Baptist Church
Altoona, PA

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