It’s okay to be different. Let’s begin with a clarification. I’m not talking about misfits, rebels, reactionaries, or extremists. I’m not talking about the angry ones who feel it’s their place to correct the errors of the body of Christ because it’s not operating according to their ideas.
With the current emphasis in the Church on the restoration of the five-fold gifts, especially the prophet and the apostle, it’s easy to become impatient with the difference. There are folks who aren’t quite “there” yet. We can correct, reprove, instruct, and discipline as Paul writes, but it should be in love, without impatience, and without anger.
I am talking about the unique God-given differences between believers who want to walk in the Spirit. They are full of the Holy Spirit, sensitive, and focused on Him. They are joyful, pleasant, and peaceful people. That is always the result of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s talk about these believers who desire to walk in the spirit. A Spirit-filled life has some clear characteristics.
1. They are a repentant person.
A close relationship with the Holy Spirit quickly makes you aware of sin – yes, sin. It’s rooted in our human nature. We all require complete dependence on and obedience to the Holy Spirit to remain free from sin. When a Spirit-filled believer becomes aware of crossing the line they feel conviction and are very quick to make that right with God and others.
2. They are humble people.
No arrogance here, no matter how supernaturally their lives are lived. All glory and honor is directed toward the Lord Jesus. When something good happens through them they carry a sense of awe that God would do this with them or through them. They do not draw attention to themselves.
3. They have no desire to control people nor programs to force others to be like them
The Spirit-filled believer constantly gives life to others because Jesus said, “…out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”
4. They carry an anointing and a life-long call for something unique to them.
The Holy Spirit uses them to make a specific mark on the body of Christ. There are no cookie-cutter people in God’s army.
In the big picture, we are all different. No one is everything, no matter how talented, experienced, educated, or effective you are. Talent, experience, and education only add value if the Spirit of God is given a place to work.
We could view the body of Christ as a great orchestra. Each sound is unique. Everyone plays their instrument. When we all walk in our given anointing and when we are who God has called us to be, the orchestra blends and flows together in beautiful harmony.
We can correct, reprove, instruct, and discipline as Paul writes, but it should be in love, without impatience, and without anger.
Why does it become necessary to get everyone to think like us and then call it unity? Why has it become necessary to insist that every one align with our objectives to be considered valuable to us?
There are nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Scripture. Usually, each of us tends to favor one or two. There are multiple spiritual gifts mentioned as well in Scripture, and there again each of us favors one or two. There are many unique ways of doing the same thing or reaching the same objective, and each of us favors a particular way.
Here’s where I appeal to you to grow up and recognize the church is the BODY of Christ with many parts. Each part is to be Spirit-filled and moving in the Spirit. Just as the human body needs blood flowing to each cell, so the BODY of Christ needs the presence and power of the Holy Spirit flowing to and through each member.
Let the body of Christ be the body of Christ! Affirm differences, but recognize how differences work together in perfect harmony.
We cannot demand to be recognized. We cannot insist others be like us, talk like us, or act like us. We must align ourselves with a local church and keep the unity of the Spirit of God. We follow our leaders. We contribute. We position ourselves to catch what the Holy Spirit is doing in our fellowship. We take our differences, our callings, and our anointing, add that to what God is doing, and we join the orchestra.
It’s okay to be different, but not okay to be a separatist. We are not called to work alone. There may be a solo piece in the orchestra once in a while, but it’s linked to a body joined together to bring beautiful music to the world.