Tiny fingers wove their way through my hair and over my arms. Small hands grabbed mine to observe the difference in size. Dirty fingers rubbed the hair on my forearms, stroked my eyebrows, grabbed my earlobes, and my knees. The children giggled when one of them gently touched my eyelashes to see what they felt like. Soon I was blanketed with tiny bodies nudging their way in to get a feel of my blonde hair or touch my cheeks. Although this was not the first time these children had seen a white girl they couldn’t resist the opportunity to witness, touch, smell, and laugh about all the things that made me different from them.
I savored in the feel of their tiny hands in mine. I didn’t mind the dirty feet and legs that monkey-ed their way over me as I became a new friend to climb on. I delighted they noticed something about me was different from them because it drew them to me. They simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to touch blonde hair that was particularly white-blonde from the dusty tap-tap ride to their village.
Along the bumpy, back-bruising ride back home (HOW do Haitians do this everyday?) my mind went back to that moment of children surrounding me. God whispered, “Your skin color may have been what marked you different in the village, but MY children should be marked different in the eyes of all those they meet”. I considered this for the rest of the ride back to Jumecourt. What marks me as different? What makes me stand out in a crowd? What makes me so unique that others simply can’t resist whatever it is that draws them to me?
Or an even harder question: is there anything that makes me different? Is there anything about me that draws people, which they can’t resist? What about you? Do you call yourself a follower of Christ? Do you claim the name of Jesus? If so, what makes you different? Is there anything different about you from everyone else around you? Do you draw others in or do you repel them? Does your Christianity look different enough from the rest of the world to make people ask questions? All of these questions are difficult, but they are necessary to wrestle with.
How do we know we have been marked different? Paul states it simply in 1 Corinthians 10:31 when he said, “do all to the glory of God”. That’s it. That’s what marks us as different. Everything we say and do and think should be done with the aim of glorifying God. When we come to a place where our hearts are aligned with the heart of God we don’t have to continually ask the aforementioned questions. We can know we are marked different by the fruit we produce. Are you drawing others to you by your joy? Do you see good days and hard days alike as opportunities to worship God? Are you striving to honor God with the attitude you have when you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do? Paul referred to this standard of living as being “slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). While we shouldn’t be legalistic about what we can and can’t do, we should be seeking opportunities to honor God with our lives. We should be slaves to praiseworthy living.
Take time today to evaluate your life and judge if it is marked as different. While we will never achieve perfection, we can all seek to draw ourselves closer to God and the standard He has set for us. In the same way that the children in the village were joyfully drawn to me because of my differences, others should be joyfully drawn to us because we are filled with the marks of Christ.
Consider ways you can begin serving others.
Is God asking you to disciple someone?
Is there someone you know needs encouraging?
Is there something God is asking you to give up for His glory’s sake?
Consider what makes you different from everyone else.
If we are followers of Christ, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to manifest Himself in you in new ways. This begins with prioritizing your time and choosing to mark a specific time slot for you to spend with Christ. Ask God to shine light on the areas where you life looks no different than everyone around you. Then prepare to hear from the King of Kings!
My prayer for you as you spend time praying is the Holy Spirit highlights areas of worldly familiarity. I pray your eyes are opened to ways that we as Children of God should be different. I pray your desire to be marked with Christ will grow daily. I pray the Holy Spirit cultivates within you the spirit of being a “slave of righteousness”. I pray opportunities for you to display God’s glory and lionize Him in all you do. I pray we all will be marked. Amen.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
– 1 Peter 2:9