We all want to be set apart. We want to excel…we want to achieve…we want to reach the top…we want to stand out and we all have a picture in our minds of what that looks like. Whether we are climbing the corporate ladder, in the midst of sibling rivalry, or keeping up with the Joneses…we always have an idea of what makes us “set apart”.
The problem is, these things we think about that set us apart are often very worldly. We think about how well we do certain things, the types of things that we own, experiences we have had, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those things are not inherently bad. Not until they become the means by which we define ourselves that is.
You see…the Bible tells us what it means to be set apart. The author writes:
As you set yourselves apart by your obedience to the truth so that you might have genuine affection for your fellow believers, love each other deeply and earnestly. – 1 Peter 1:22
This is a different kind of set apart than what we are used to. Here the author tells us that we are set apart by our obedience. And that obedience causes us to have genuine affection for other believers. So…as per the author…as you are setting yourself apart…you should love each other deeply and earnestly.
Now, I could spend a good deal of time on each of those segments…but I think there is an important overarching theme we have to deal with first. Are you ready for it?
To be set apart is to turn your focus and love toward others.
I know! This is completely contradictory to what we tend to do…and contrary to what feels right about being set apart. The worldly view says that in order to be set apart we must focus on ourselves and “better” ourselves in order to excel above others. The Biblical view says that you must focus on others and raise them up above yourself. Then you will be “set apart”.
Maybe the confusion comes in who does the “setting apart”. If we are so proud as to think that we set ourselves apart…then we will tend to believe that we must focus on ourselves. However, if we are humble enough to recognize that God is the one who sets us apart…we will realize that we must become last and put others before ourselves. We must become obedient. We must love others deeply and earnestly.
Being set apart is not about how others see you or how you rank among your peers. Being set apart is how God sees you. Not in comparison with your peers, but in comparison to the expectation that God has on your life.
How have you tried to be set apart in your life?
What must you surrender in order to allow God to set you apart in accordance to 1 Peter 1:22?