Against the Grain

Romans 1:1, Paul writes, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God…”

Are you set apart for the gospel of God? Those words filled my mind this morning as I was reading from God’s word. The very nature of them can give us a connotation of being weird, different, strange, a nerd of sorts. Those words bring an unpopular dimension to Christianity, having to go the opposite direction of a group; having to say no to our peers; having to go against the grain of the population; having to be politically ‘incorrect.’

We’d like to imagine Christ as a popular guy; captain of the football team; good-looking; president of his class; the one everyone likes – BUT HE WASN’T! His ideas were not normal. His actions were strange and argumentative. He went against the grain and the religious establishment of His time! He included Gentiles. He spoke to Samaritans. He was an outcast of the biggest kind. I wonder if I would’ve let my kids hang out with Him!

It brings this questions to mind, “What am I willing to be for Him? How far am I willing to go to share His word?”

Paul writes, “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.”

To whom are we obligated?  What about your alcoholic neighbor who continues to drink despite his wife’s efforts to get him to AA? Do you dismiss him? Do you write him off because he just doesn’t want help?

What about the kid at school who cuts himself? Is he just too weird to deal with?

What about the co-worker addicted to pornography? Is it just men-being- men or is it? Or women-being-women? Is it true ‘everybody is watching porn now’?

What about the friend who just doesn’t have time to go to church? Or the one who says ‘everyone in church is a hypocrite’?

To set yourself apart, is to make yourself a new and different being. It is defined in Romans 12 as not flowing in the current stream of cultural norms, but being resistant, swimming upstream.  God has a higher calling for us. We are asked to be different! We are asked to stir the pot! We are called to get the right word out to the people of the world, even if it means, we lose our friends in the process. We are asked to be set apart for the gospel.

Today, determine to set yourself apart, to stand up to the pressures from those you know are doing wrong against God, to say no to sin. Today, accept your responsibility in God’s Kingdom. Realize you have an obligation to His people to spread His word.


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