When I look back to the first significant portion of my life, I was driven to be like everyone else; especially those I thought were cool or popular. If you looked at the way I lived, I was really striving to try to fit in, to try to be like other people. If you would have called me different, that would have been an insult, because I didn’t want to be different. And so, I did what normal people did, lived how normal people live, and I ended up where normal people end up, which was in the middle of a life that was really hurting. When I was sixteen years old I had the courage to do something that was different, because normal was hurting. I decided to pick up the bible and started to read it.
What I found was that the teachings of Jesus were so different than the normal life that I was used to, that it hooked me. There was like this spiritual force drawing me toward God, which I later found out was called The Holy Spirit. And I struggled to follow God. But some days, I still tried to fit in with others around me. But when I was serious about following God, people thought I was different!
Do you know someone that is different in a good way? It’s refreshing to be around them. Do you know somebody who is different in an odd way? Those who are just strange or annoying? What I want to share is about being different in a God way.
Here’s what Jesus said, that captured my heart in Matthew 7:13-14,
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV)
Think about this; wide is the road which the majority of the people travel. Unfortunately, in the crowd, that’s where I often find comfort. I’ll think, “Look at all of the people doing what we are doing, going where we are going, living how we’re living; we’re normal! We must be good because this is what the majority of the crowd is doing and the majority of the people are going.”
Unfortunately though, Jesus said, “Many (the normal) are on the road that leads to destruction.”
I discovered that if my life looks like everybody else’s life, if I’m doing what everyone else is doing that may not be a good thing. I may be on the broad road that leads to destruction. Which road are you on? When you leave the normal road to get on the narrow road where the few are, the normal people will think you’re different. As you follow Christ you will be different.
I want to invite you to follow the teachings of Jesus and lead a different life. Because even if we take the Bible aside and just look at this practically, wouldn’t you agree that normal is not working? Think about it, what is normal in your schedules today? Overwhelmed, rushed, stressed, panicked, never enough time for what’s truly important because we’re overwhelmed with the urgent and missing out on the quality.
What is normal when it comes to money today? It’s the pursuit of material things which never makes us happy. Normal is broke, debt and financial fear. Normal is fighting about money.
What’s normal when it comes to work? Working for a paycheck, doing something you don’t really like just to get by. Normal is feeling like there’s got to be something more but you just can’t quite find what it is.
What is normal in relationships? Hopping from bed to bed with different people until you finally do get married. And then, seven years into marriage, since things aren’t going along well, normal for more than half of the people in our country today is divorce. Normal is not working.
If you really believe there is something different and better than the normal life where the majority of the people are traveling, you’ll have to leave the broad road and get onto the narrow road where people will call you different. Like me you can decide to follow Jesus and live for him. It’s different, but you will have what few have; peace, joy, security, a sense of fulfillment and an eternal destiny. Will you join me?