Matthew 10:42 English Standard Version (ESV)
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
1 Corinthians 7:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
I want to encourage you: don't be afraid to walk your unique and holy path in Jesus. He calls you to it, and it will be an isolating experience, just as Bonhoeffer explains in his book "The Cost of Discipleship". Believe me when I say that I can RELATE to this!!
Yes, we gather in fellowship in local public churches. But that does not mean our individual paths in Christ will all look identical. We all seek to have the same mind in Christ and the same doctrine. But not every path in Jesus will be the same. 1 Corinthians 12 does a great job of explaining the diversities of callings and gifts in Christ. It is always the same Spirit. There is unity through diversity of callings and gifts. Not all people have to do the same thing in the body. In fact, in that chapter, Paul says that if everyone did the same thing or had the same gift, then the spiritual body would not be fully equipped!
Discipleship will cause you to feel separate. Indeed I know I feel separated and sometimes misunderstood because I don't have the same calling and walk as others. God equips us with desires that match the calling. So don't feel bad when you don't desire what other people think you should desire.
Remember the source of your desires.... it is God who changes your heart and determines what you will desire:
Psalm 37:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
By delighting in the Lord and in what He desires, He will plant His desires in your heart and they become yours. This is what I believe the Psalm is telling us. Let God give you the desires of your heart. Then when you go to ask for those things, He will grant your desires, because they match His sovereign desire. And His sovereign desire for you is GOOD and HOLY. But it still will not be the exact same path as other disciples/Christians. Contrast the difference of paths between Peter and John in the New Testament. One was called to die on a cross, the other lived to full age while banished on a prison island.
People want to put you into a cookie cutter. But you don't fit in the cookie cutter mold. And that's ok. God is using your set of unique experiences to further His kingdom of spiritual children. You don't have to fit man's cookie cutter. God shaped you with a different mold! He shaped you into the image of His Son! And Jesus did not follow man's tradition or Adam's natural path. He PERFECTLY did the will of His heavenly Father. And Jesus IS the LAST ADAM.
The FIRST ADAM had sinned, and had a natural family who also took on his natural sinful nature.
The LAST ADAM, Jesus Christ, is SPIRITUAL, and did NOT sin. He was SINLESS, yet He took on our own sin. He took it on, so that He could adopt all who believe Him as SPIRITUAL children!
Isn't that amazing? Read 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul's teaching on the First Adam vs. the Last Adam.
Your path is unique and holy in Christ! Stay close to Jesus and stay obedient to His Spirit. Don't second-guess what God has already told you and shown you. Not everything that applies to other persons in the church will apply to you. Though your brothers and sisters in Christ love you, they may not understand God's will for you fully. It's ok. Just love them. Don't waste time defending your position. Since you are not sinning, you have nothing to repent of. There is no shame in following Jesus, even if it costs you personal relationships. And please don't assume they are wrong in their path. Don't assume everyone must walk exactly the way you do in your practical and life choices.
Be BOLD. Be yourself in Christ. You don't take up the cross of a different disciple. You take up your own unique cross for Jesus. And that cross will be misunderstood by some Christians. People don't mean any harm. So please be gentle and gracious with them.
God bless and strengthen you for the journey ahead, and remember, you might feel like me.... alone at times. Even though you feel alone, remember that you have JESUS with you and Jesus and the FATHER are ONE.
John 16:32 English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
This is my reality. The Father is with me too, because I believe in Jesus, Love Him, and obey Him.
Jesus promised you and me:
Matthew 28:20 English Standard Version (ESV)
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Mon May 8 2017 9:47pm EST