Over the last year or so I’ve been working my way through Michael Morales’ Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A biblical theology of the Book of Leviticus (Downers Grove, Illinois: Apollos, InterVarsity Press, 2015.). It is a fascinating book, bringing many things together about the Old Testament that I haven’t thought of before. One of the things he pointed out in expositing Leviticus 18 that really caused me to think was that God specifically gave the law to Israel so that they would be completely unlike those around them. They were to be distinct from all the other nations around them, pointing to the distinctness of Yahweh. So I began to ask myself, what makes us Christians distinct?
My search led me to John 13:34-35, where Jesus says, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (HCSB – emphasis mine). Thus, the outwardly most distinctive element of being a Christian is found in our love; first and foremost for other Christians (1Jn. 4:7-8) and then for those who do not love us (Mt. 5:43-48). It’s no wonder Christians blow the world’s mind when they stand up and forgive those who have wronged them. We are to love with godly abandon, doing the right thing no matter what, making difficult decisions, accepting pain, putting others before ourselves and pouring ourselves out as God does. That will make people wonder what’s the matter with us.
Jesus also points out that our good deeds are a distinctive that draws people to God (see Mt. 5:14-16). Coupled with selfless love, these will make us as Christians very distinctive from the rest of the world and cause them to question, to wonder, to seek what makes us different from everyone else. So, how are you doing at being distinct from the world today?