As Christians we’re called to be different. We’re called to be lights, we’re called to be salt, and we’re called to be cities on hills (Matt. 5:13-16). All of these things don’t blend in to the world around them, salt has a flavor distinct from the food it is added to, light is the opposite of dark where it is most commonly found, and a city on a hill sticks out of the landscape. Obviously, God wants us to be different from our surroundings. He wants to use us to glorify Him and make His name great. We are called to be in the world not of it. But how do we radically live out our faith when it’s not popular? How do we be in a worldly environment without letting it effect us? How do we grow in the Lord without isolating ourselves in a “holy huddle” yet still be active lights in the darkness? I really don't know the answers to these questions but I've made this list to help in my own life.

Love–genuinely, unconditionally, without judgment, even when it’s hard. We don’t have to be romantically in love with everyone we meet nor do we have to feel inclined to like someone. Love toward those around us is an attitude; it’s a mindset, a conscious decision to serve. 1 John 3:18 says, “let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “let all that you do be done in love.” Our actions toward those around us should reflect the love God has toward us; love when we don’t deserve it with no strings attached. This is something I’m still trying to grasp and I think it’s going to take a while.

Build relationships

–we don’t have to be best friends with everyone we meet but getting to know someone builds trust. When trust is established influence results.

Uphold our standards

–when we’re surrounded by people who make unwise choices everyday, it’s easy to let down our guard. We easily become desensitized to the sin surrounding us and little by little our standards suffer. We need to stand firm in our convictions and though our decisions may make us unpopular, our actions are what set us apart.

Stay in the Word

–Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect” Studying the scriptures helps us to renew our mind, it helps to keep the junk out that competes for our thoughts.

Know that it will be hard and never go away

–Ephesians 6:12 says, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Realizing that we are in a spiritual war takes our struggles to an entirely different level and will make us aware of things we never knew. Also know that we will be unpopular. John 15:19 “If you were not of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you”

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