I have been reading in Leviticus as part of my “read the whole Bible this year before you get married” plan (I’m not going to quite make it, but I’m not as far off as it seems), and I was challenged by this verse:
And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them. (Leviticus 20:23)
The book of Leviticus is very much about clean versus unclean, holy versus unholy, right versus wrong. The people of God were to be set apart in their dress, in their customs, in their lives. They had strict dietary and clothing restrictions and every week, they set aside the Sabbath to rest. If you came upon a group of Israelites, it would not take you long to figure out that these people were different and their God was different.
Of course, as Christians we do not abide by the laws in Leviticus. As the Lord revealed to Peter, there are no longer dietary restrictions that we must follow. Unlike the Israelites, my clothes are made of so many different types of fibers, I couldn’t even tell you what they are. And (sadly) my Sunday looks very much like my Saturday, with the exception that I go to church.
Yet Jesus still calls us to live a lifestyle that does not conform to that of this world. (See, for example, Romans 12:2.)
Unfortunately, I do not know how different my life looks than anyone else’s in America. I live in a suburban house in the middle of Ohio with two dogs and we are literally surrounded by white picket fences. I am the epitome of stereotypical America. O Conformity, thou art mine.
Recently, I read on the Mudroom, one of the Christian blogs I follow, about a woman who lives with her family of five off the grid in a 314 sq. ft. yurt in Idaho. I’m not kidding. Now there is a lifestyle that is markedly different, that screams “I am not of this culture!”
There is something deep within me that wants to join that scream, to sell everything, donate all the money, and live a minimalist Acts-style life. And yet that’s just crazy talk, because I also love hot showers, modern appliances, and frozen yogurt.
So what is the acceptable grey area – the space between living in a Christian commune off the grid and living the hedonistic YOLO Western lifestyle?
In dating, part of what set me apart was my boundaries. I made clear that I was an active Christian and I wanted to date only guys who were active Christians (sometimes, alas, other people’s definitions of “active” did not match mine). I also set a boundary around sex before marriage. And I pursued a “dating for marriage” mindset.
Just to be clear, none of these make me a perfect Christian by any stretch – I wish that I prayed more, that I read my Bible more, that I was more kind and generous – the list goes on. But it is a start, a way to set myself apart from the common American dating meat market and say, I am going to live my life differently for Jesus.
How about you? What are some ways that you have set yourself apart for Jesus?