Fitting In And Standing Out

Bill Colyer | Jan 5th, 2013

The soundtrack for heroism?

Heroism is hard work without a good soundtrack. You see it in the difference between who we love to watch and who we love to be.

Sitting in the cinema, we cheer for the person who stands up against injustice and we imagine ourselves bravely making the same stand. However, when we’re actually faced with the chance to stand up for something, to stand out from the crowd, we often shrink back.

Without a stirring soundtrack, our dreams of standing out fade away. We prefer the comfort and security of fitting in with those around us.

An everyday conflict

Christians at uni face this inner conflict every day.

When a classmate dismisses the Bible as a book of fables that science has disproved or a friend describes their alcohol-and-sex-soaked weekend, what do you do? Do you say something and stand out or do you nod, smile awkwardly and fit in?

As we think about these little crises, we need to realise that our desire to stand out and our desire to fit in are both good desires.

It’s right to stand up for what is right, but God also created us with a longing to belong (see the glowing way in which Proverbs talks about friendship - e.g, Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:6, 9).

It's WHERE you belong that counts

This means our inner conflict is not a choice between a good desire (standing out) and a suspect one (fitting in).

In fact, that’s not really the choice we’re making at all. We’re actually choosing where we’re going to fit in: Am I going to fit in with the people around me? Or am I going to fit in with Jesus and my Father?

Jesus underlines the starkness of this choice when he says:

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:25-26)

So advertise your eternal belonging!

When we choose to stand up and stand out for Jesus, we’re never choosing to not fit in.

Instead, we’re choosing to advertise the fact that we belong to an eternal family, to an enduring kingdom and to the Maker, Rescuer and Ruler of all.

Find some practical ideas for advertising your eternal belonging in Part 2: Fitting In And Standing Out - 3 Practical Ideas.