Thursday, January 11, 2007

Feeling Set Apart Lately?

Ever get the feeling that being follower of Jesus, you sometimes feel separated from the world and doing the things the rest of the world does, just doesn’t seem to fit or feel right to you anymore?

We watch as those around us pursue the ultimate high, lust for the next sexual score or look for a way to make a quick buck (whether legal or not) and question ourselves for not joining into this mad dash any further. Where did we go wrong?

Those who enjoyed our company before, may now be reluctant to hang with us, because we’ve changed…we’re not the same person anymore and they feel kind of uncomfortable around us. Does following the path of Jesus, mean we cannot enjoy life or have meaningful friendships, since we no longer exactly fit with the world we came from?

What’s wrong with us? The answer is…nothing and everything!

It’s not that we are wrong, but that we are now more closer to right. When we accepted Jesus as our savior, he cleaned us…washed away ALL our sins, and what we were. We truly became reborn in (and through) him! At that moment we became a bit more like him…we became Sanctified.

I always looked at the term “Sanctified”, as one of those “three-dollar-Christian-words” which a lot of preachers used, but I never really understood. But at it’s essence the word defines our new selves in Christ. Sanctified literally means, “Set apart for God’s use.” And that’s just what happens to us, when we accept Jesus and become one of his followers. Then as we mature (as Christians) there also is a process of “Progressive Sanctification”, where as we continue to grow and that setting apart becomes more and more pronounced in ALL parts of our life, not just the spiritual.

When we become Sanctified, the light of God begins to show in us and through us…in how we speak, how we act, how we conduct business and how much we love. Jesus said, when we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, we are like a lantern in the darkness for those trapped in the shadows. As lanterns we can both lead people out of the darkness, while at the same time illuminate things/people that may rather not be illuminated. The later is why people who once relished our company, may now feel a certain uncomfortable sensation around us…they are not ready to be in the light or have it shined upon their lives, they wish to stay in the darkness.

I’ve experienced firsthand, both the wonderful transformation and the feeling of being somewhat like an alien to my peers. Working within the comic-book, graphic-novel industry like I do, you quickly learn that: No major publisher has an interest in publishing a spiritual/Christian based story; artists and writers are reluctant to identify with any religion (but especially Christianity it seems) for fear it might limit their free-lance job opportunities; and (most significant) that most that work in the field are creating projects that they deem to be cutting edge culturally due to their graphic depictions, violence, language, sexual content etc…and just don’t view Christianity as cool!

So basically, to work, publish and attempt to market a Christian project in an industry like this, makes me a living, breathing poster boy, for walking earth like an alien! It requires me to face ridicule, (both privately and in the media--including the L.A. Times), doubt, uncertainty or just ambivalence on a constant basis.

How do I survive in this situation? Only through staying in The Word, prayer and fellowship with brother Christians who are taking this same kind of narrow path in their chosen fields, (many of which I’ve already met here in Shoutlife-land), can I stay focused on God’s commission for me (to share God’s Word with unchurched young readers) and his promise (that my efforts will bear fruit, by saving those who may not be reached through other means---even if it’s just one or two people).

Brothers (and sisters), this is what being Sanctified is all about…I have been set aside for God’s use and I feel blessed to have experienced it (even though I resisted his call till later in life).

What about you?

Robert Luedke

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