Do Not Be Ashamed!
Being separate from the world looks to be harder to define and most often harder to do. It was a command of Jesus He gave His apostles before the crucifixion (John 15:15-20; 17:14-17). The problem with separation is hatred. Someone will hate us, and to remove that hatred we often compromise rather than separate from the world. It is not easy being different is it.
We may champion ourselves as the ones who have no creed but the Bible; do not use instrumental music in worship; observe the Lord’s supper each Sunday; do not observe religious holidays; believe in the necessity of adult baptism by immersion and for the remission of sins; worship and serve God; believe in the all-sufficiency of the local church; and reject unbiblical hierarchy. But perhaps we have not identified and separated ourselves as thoroughly as we should in our personal lives and character.
One thing is certain. If we want to be pure-hearted, faithful children of God, we can never be ashamed of anything that He has called upon us to believe, do, or teach, however much it may offend others and separate us from the world at large. Think about what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8: “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord or of me His prisoner, but suffer hardship with the gospel by the power of God.”
At some point in time every Christian must decide if he is going to be God’s creation of distinction or a creature of conformity and compromise. We must remember this point of difference was made at conversion. If a Christian does not accept this calling, issues will continue to confront him many times in life because styles change, the world will pressure, friends will also encourage, and your family will beg to do what everyone else does. We will either be embarrassed, question our moral differences, immediately oppose, or readily conform to whatever moral dilemma we face.
One thing that might help us is understanding that emphasis on externals does not always guarantee anything without a committed and cleansed heart (Matthew 5:27,28). In other words, we may say don’t dance, don’t smoke, don’t dress immodestly, don’t swim with the opposite sex, etc. is the key to keeping oneself unspotted from the world. But whatever restrictions are placed upon us, the truth rises far above the first cigarette, the dance floor, or tanning at the swimming pool. Christians are driven not necessarily to be different but to pursue God. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). What is moral purity but the protection of one’s innocence, the guarding of his thoughts, and the security of his very soul in righteousness and holiness – all so that he might see God. I see no reason to be ashamed of that – do you?