What is it that sets me apart? As a holy people, aren’t we all called to be set apart? Isn’t that what the definition of holy is? To be certain, holiness is indeed to be set apart, but just as importantly, if not more so, is why we are set apart. The reason is so we can be His people, so we can follow Him and all His ways, so we can lead others to His saving grace and so we can be “marked by our maker” as His children. We know what being set apart means and we know why.
But here’s another thought provoking question...what are we set apart from?
If we are not set apart, we are not, therefore, a holy people. This would mean we were unholy. Another way to say unholy is "worldly." This is not to define worldly as knowledgeable of the world, but instead to define it as being of the world, being known for being apart of it. If my goal as a Christ follower is to be set apart for His purposes and plans, I must pull myself away from being worldly, but that’s much harder than it looks.
Some Christians maintain that they must remove the presence of all worldly influences from their lives in order to be set apart but that doesn’t jive with scripture. Others think it comes down to having only Christian friends and not associating with those outside the church, but that isn’t scriptural either. Knowing this means accepting the difficulty of such a challenge while accepting it is nearly impossible. In fact, it is wholly impossible on your own. Only daily connection with The Spirit of God will allow one to truly be set apart from this world in the way we are called to be.
As we unravel what it means and looks like to be set apart, we must address our daily lives moment by moment and evaluate where we are at each step of the way. For some, pulling away from the world to be set apart for His purposes is more than just daunting. We all tend to get into routines and living in this world is kind of like driving in really deep ruts on the highway. Sometimes, it’s hard to get out.
As I examine my life through the last 15 years or so, I see a trend of shifting away from this world and what it has to offer in order to embrace something much bigger than myself. There have been (and continue to be) some heady challenges along the way and yet God has been faithful all along. Yet, here I sit concerned about the next few years in my life, fearful of transitions from what feels like one life to another. Instead of simply granting full control to Jesus for these next phases, I tend to cling tightly to the wheel for fear of crashing into the ditch as I attempt to jump out of a few ruts.
Oddly, I think we are the only ones who see the ruts. I think God just sees opportunities to show us how good of a driver He is, if we would just let Him steer.